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DOWN TO A.D. 325- 














R I G E N. 










Books VII. and viii. have been translated by the late W. H. Cairns, 
M.A., Rector of the Dumfries Academy, and the rest by 
Professor Crombie. 




BOOK I., . 393-478 

Preface. — Origen undertakes this treatise at the desire of 
Ambrose, but thinks it unnecessary, as the facts and doctrines 
of Christianity form its best defence — work begun on one plan 
and carried on on another. 

First objection of Celsus is, that Christians enter into secret 
associations, some of which are illegal, — his object being to discredit 
the " love-feasts " of the Christians : Answer of Origen — chap. i. 
Second objection of Celsus, that Judaism, on which Christianity 
depends, had a barbarous origin : Answer — chap. ii. Celsus objects 
that Christians practise their doctrines in secret to avoid the penalty 
of death : Answer — chap. iii. Morality of Christianity neither vene- 
rable nor new : Answer — chap. iv. Celsus approves of the views of 
Christians respecting idolatry, but asserts that these views are prior 
to Christianity : Answer — chap. v. Asserts that the miracles of Chris- 
tianity were performed by means of the invocation of demons : Answer 
— chap. vi. That Christianity is a secret system of belief : Answer 
— chap. vii. Maintains that a man should die for his belief ; inconsis- 
tency of this with his profession as an Epicurean — chap. viii. Main- 
tains that reason ought to be the guide of men in adopting opinions, 
and charges Christians with inculcating a blind belief : Answer — 
chaps, ix.-xi. Boast of Celsus, that he is acquainted with all the 
opinions of the Christians, shown to be unfounded — chap. xii. Mis- 
representation by Celsus of the statement in 1 Cor. iii. 18, 19 : Cor- 
rection and explanation — chap. xiii. Inconsistency of Celsus in accept- 
ing the accounts of Greeks and barbarians as to their antiquity, while 
rejecting the histories of the Jews — chaps, xiv.-xvi. Celsus objects 
to giving an allegorical signification to the Jewish history ; incon- 
sistency of this — chap. xvii. Challenges a comparison between the 
writings of Linus, Musseus, etc., and the laws of Moses: Answer — 
chap, xviii. Celsus holds that the world was uncreated, and yet is 
led to admit that it is comparatively modern — chaps, xix., xx. Celsus 
asserts that Moses borrowed his doctrines from wise nations and 
eloquent men, and thus obtained the reputation of divinity : Answer 


— chap. xxi. Circumcision, according to Celsus, first practised by 
the Egyptians : Answer — chap. xxii. The followers of Moses, shep- 
herds and herdsmen, were led to believe in the unity of God through 
delusion and vulgar conceit : Answer — chap, xxiii. Various names 
given to the one God by the followers of Moses, all evincing their 
ignorance of His nature: Discussion regarding the significance of 
the divine names in various languages — chaps, xxiv., xxv. Celsus 
charges the Jews with worshipping angels and practising sorcery : 
Answer — chaps, xxvi., xxvii. Inconsistency of Celsus in introducing 
a Jew, as an opponent of Jesus, who does not maintain the character 
of a Jew throughout the discussion : This Jew represented as 
accusing Jesus of having "invented his birth from a virgin," and 
upbraiding Him with " being born in a certain Jewish village of a 
poor woman of the country who gained her subsistence by spinning, 
and who was turned out of doors by her husband, a carpenter by 
trade, because she was convicted of adultery ; and after being 
driven away by her husband and wandering about for a time, she 
disgracefully gave birth to Jesus, an illegitimate child, who, having 
hired himself out as a servant in Egypt on account of his poverty, 
and having there acquired some miraculous powers, on which the 
Egyptians greatly pride themselves, returned to his own country, 
highly elated on account of them, and by help of them proclaimed 
himself a god " — chap, xxviii. Preliminary remarks to a full an- 
swer to these charges — chaps, xxix.-xxxii. Proof that the birth of 
Christ from a virgin was predicted by the prophets — chaps, xxxiii.- 
XXXV. Proof that prophets existed among the Jews — chap, xxxvi. 
Possibility of the miraculous birth of Christ — chap, xxxvii. Answer 
to the assertion that Jesus wrought His miracles by magic, and not 
by divine power — chap, xxxviii. Scoffs of Celsus regarding the 
mother of Jesus not deserving of answer — chap, xxxix. Celsus 
charges the narrative in Matthew regarding the dove which alighted 
upon the Saviour at His baptism with being fictitious ; shows great 
want of method and order in the manner in which he brings his 
charges — chap. xl. Answer — chaps, xli.-xlviii. Celsus sets aside 
the fact that the coming of Jesus was predicted by the Jewish 
prophets, perhaps because he was not acquainted with the prophecies 
relatmg to Christ : Inconsistency of representing the Jew as saying, 
" My prophet once declared in Jerusalem that the Son of God will 
come as the judge of the righteous and the punisher of the 
wicked " — chaps, xlix., 1. Detailed evidence from prophecy respecting 
the birth of Christ — chaps, li.-liii. Answer to objection of Celsus 
regarding the sufferings of Christ — chaps, liv.-lvi. Celsus asserts 
that every man, born according to the decree of divine Providence, 
is a son of God : Answer — chap. Ivii. The Jew of Celsus goes on 
to misrepresent the Gospel account of the visit of the Magi, and of 
the slaughter of the innocents by Herod : Answer — chaps. Iviii.-lxi. 



Calumnies of Celsus regarding the number and character and con- 
duct of the disciples of Jesus : Answer — chaps. Ixii.-lxv. The 
absurdity of the story of our Lord's removal when an infant, ia, 
according to Celsus, a proof that He was not divine : Answer — chap. 
Ixvi. Celsus denies that the works of Jesus were at all remarkable as 
compared with those attributed to Perseus and Amphion, and other 
mythological personages, but admits afterwards that some of them 
were remarkable, — such as His cures, and His resurrection, and the 
feeding of the multitude, — although he immediately afterwards com- 
pares them to the tricks of jugglers, and denies that they can fur- 
nish any proof of His being " Son of God :" Answer — chaps. Ixvii., 
Ixviii. Objection of Celsus that the body of Jesus could not have 
been that of a god, nor could be nourished with such food as 
Jesus partook of : Answer — chaps. Ixix., Ixx. Declares that opinions 
of Jesus were those of a wicked and God-hated sorcerer : Answer — 
chap. Ixxi. 


BOOK II., 1-84 

This book contains Origen's answers to the charges which Celsus, 
in the person of a Jew, brings against the converts from Judaism 
to Christianity. Main charge is, that "they have forsaken the law 
of their fathers, in consequence of their minds being led captive by 
Jesus ; that they have been most ridiculously deceived ; and that 
they have become deserters to another name and to another mode of 
life." Answer to these charges — chap. i. Digression upon certain 
declarations of Jesus in the Gospels — chap. ii. Ignorance of Celsus 
evinced by the manner in which he represents the Jew as addressing 
the Israelitish converts — chap. iii. Objection of Jew, that Chris- 
tianity takes its origin from Judaism, and that after a certain point 
it discards Judaism : Answer — chap. iv. Assertion of Celsus, that 
Jesus was punished by the Jews for His crimes, already answered — 
chap. V. Observance by Jesus of Jewish usages and sacrificial ob- 
servances, no argument against His recognition as the Son of God 
— chap. vi. Language of Jesus furnishes not the slightest evi- 
dence, but the reverse, of arrogance : Quotations — chap. vii. Alle- 
gation, that when men are willing to be deceived, many persons like 
Jesus would find a friendly reception ; inconsistency of this ; various 
other charges disposed of — chap. viii. Assertion of CeLsus, that 
Jesus could not be deemed a god because he was currently reported 
to have performed none of his promises, and, after conviction and 
sentence, was found attempting to conceal himself and endeavouring 
to escape, and was then betrayed by his disciples ; impossibility of 
such things, according to Celsus, happening to a god : Answer to 
these calumnies and objections — chaps, ix.-xi. Assertion of Celsus, 


that Jesus was inferior to a brigand chief, because He was betrayed 
by His disciples : Answer— chap. xii. Celsus asserts that he omits 
mention of many things in the life of Christ which he could state to 
His disadvantage ; challenged to produce such : Several predictions 
of Jesus quoted and commented on — chap. xiii. Celsus makes light 
of the admission that future events were predicted by Jesus : Re- 
marks of Origen in answer — chap. xiv. Assertion of Celsus, that 
the disciples of Jesus devised the fiction that He foreknew everything 
before it happened : Answer — chap. xv. Asserts that the disciples 
wrote the accounts they have given by way of extenuating the 
charges against Him : Answer — chap. xvi. Celsus alleges that a 
prudent man — much more a god or spirit — would have tried to 
escape dangers that were foreseen, whereas Jesus did the reverse : 
Answer — chap. xvii. Objection of Celsus, that the announcements 
which Jesus made regarding those disciples who were to betray and 
deny Him had not the effect of deterring them from their treason 
and perjury, shown to be self-contradictory — chap, xviii. Further, 
statement of Celsus, that in such cases intending criminals abandon 
their intentions, shown to be untrue — chap. xix. Objection, that if 
Jesus had been a God, His predictions must infallibly have come to 
pass ; and assertion, that He plotted against the members of His own 
table : Eef uted — chaps, jcx.-xxii. Assertion, that the things which He 
suffered could have been neither painful nor distressing, because He 
submitted to them voluntarily and as a God — chap, xxiii. Misre- 
presentation of Celsus as to the language employed by Jesus during 
His sufferings — chaps, xxiv., xxv. Celsus charges the disciples with 
having invented statements : Answer — chap. xxvi. Alleges that 
Christian believers have corrupted the gospel in order to be able to 
reply to objections : Answer — chap, xxvii. The Jew of Celsus re- 
proaches Christians with making use of the prophets : Answer — 
chap, xxviii. Assertion of Celsus, that from such signs and misin- 
terpretations, and from proofs so mean, no one could prove Jesus to 
be God and the Son of God : Answer — chap. xxx. Charges Chris- 
tians with sophistical reasoning in saying that the Son of God is the 
Logos Himself : Refutation — chap. xxxi. Objection of Celsus to our 
Lord's genealogy: Refutation — chap, xxxii. Celsus ridicules the 
actions of Jesus as unworthy of a God : Refutation — chap, xxxiii. 
Inconsistency of Celsus in representing the Jew as conversant with 
Greek literature ; various remarks of Celsus answered — chap, xxxiv. 
Question of Celsus, why Jesus does not give some manifestation of 
His divinity by taking vengeance upon those who insult Him and 
His Father: Answered — chap. xxxv. Celsus scoffingly inquires, 
What was the nature of the ichor in the body of Jesus ? and asserts 
that Jesus rushed with open mouth to drink of the vinegar and gall : 
Answer — chaps, xxxvi., xxxvii. Sneer of the Jew, that Christians 
find fault with Jews for not recognising Jesus as God : Answer — 


chap, xxxviii. Falsehood of the assertion of this Jew of Celsus, that 
Jesus gained over to His cause no one during His life, not even His 
own disciples — chap, xxxix. Jew goes on to assert that Jesus did 
not show Himself to be pure from all evil : Answer — chaps, xli., xlii. 
Falsity of the statement, that Jesus, after failing to gain over those 
who were in this world, went to Hades to gain over those who were 
there— chap, xliii. Celsus asserts further, that other individuals who 
have been condemned and died miserable deaths ought to be re- 
garded as greater and more divine messengers of heaven than Jesus : 
Answer — chap. xliv. Argument of Celsus against the truth of 
Christianity, from the different behaviour of the actual followers of 
Jesus during His life and that of Christians at the present day : 
Answer — chap. xlv. Falsehood of the assertion, that Jesus when 
on earth gained over to Himself only sailors and tax-gatherers of 
the most worthless character — chap. xlvi. Answer to the question, 
By what train of argument were Christians led to regard Jesus as 
the Son of God ? — chap, xlvii. Assertion of Celsus, that Jesus is 
deemed by Christians to be the Son of God because He healed the 
lame and the blind and is asserted to have raised the dead : Answer 
— chap, xlviii. Statement of Celsus, that Jesus convicted Himself 
of being a sorcerer : Refuted by His predictions regarding false pro- 
phets, etc. — chaps, xlix., 1. No resemblance -between the works of 
Jesus and those of a sorcerer — chap. li. Inconsistency of the Jew 
in raising the objections which he does, seeing that the same ob- 
jections might be raised against the divinity of Mosaism — chaps, lii- 
liv. Jew objects further, that the predictions, although actually 
uttered, prove nothing, because many have been deceived by jug- 
gling tricks ; asserts also, that there is no satisfactory evidence of 
the resurrection of Jesus, the report of which can be explained in 
other ways : Answer — chaps. Iv.-lxii. Celsus proceeds to bring, as 
a serious charge against Jesus, that He did not appear after His 
resurrection to those who had ill-treated Him and condemned Him, 
and to men in general : Answer — chaps. Ixiii-lxvii. Celsus asserts, 
that it would have helped to manifest His divinity if He had at once 
disappeared from the cross : Answer — chaps. Ixviii., Ixix. Incon- 
sistency of Celsus' statement (that Jesus concealed Himself) with the 
facts of the case, pointed out — chap. Ixx. Certain declarations of 
Jesus regarding Himself, noticed — chap. Ixxi. Celsus asks why, 
if Jesus wished to remain hid, a voice was heard from heaven pro- 
claiming Him to be the Son of God ? or, if He did not seek conceal- 
ment, why was He punished ? or, why did He die ? Answer — chap. 
Ixxii. Celsus asserts, that no witness is needed to refute the state- 
ments of the Christians, because these are taken from their own 
books, which are self-contradictory : Answer — chap. Ixxiv. Impos- 
sibility, according to Celsus, that a god, who was expected to appear 
among men, should be received with incredulity on his coming, or 




should fail to be recognised by those who have been looking for 
him: Answer — chap. Ixxv. All objections brought by the Jew 
against Christianity might be retorted on himself : Illustrations — 
chap. Ixxvi. Jew professes his belief in a bodily resurrection and 
in eternal life — chap. Ixxvii. Asks if Jesus came into the world to 
produce unbelief in the minds of men : Answer — chap. Ixxviii. Con- 
clusion of the Jew is that everything proves Jesus to have been a 
man : General refutation. 

BOOK III., 85-160 

Object of Book Third to refute the charges which Celsus makes 
against Christianity in his own person. Assertion of Celsus that the 
controversy between Jews and Christians is most foolish ; that there 
is nothing of importance in the investigations of Jews and Christians ; 
because, although both believe that a Saviour was predicted, yet 
they do not agree on the point whether He has actually come or not. 
Refutation of these statements generally — chaps, i.-iv. Celsus al- 
leges that both Judaism and Christianity originated in rebellion 
against the State ; impossibility of this — chaps, v.-vii. Jews shown 
from their language not to be Egyptians — chap. viii. Falsehood of 
the assertion that Christians do not desire to convert all men, even if 
they could — chap. ix. Proof of Celsus in support of his assertion : 
Answer — chaps, x.-xiii. Union of Christians alleged to rest upon 
no substantial reason, save on rebellion and fear of external enemies : 
Answer — chaps, xiv., xv. Falsity of the charge that Christians in- 
vent terrors — chap. xvi. Comparison of the articles of the Christian 
faith to Egyptian temples, where, after passing through imposing 
avenues, nothing is found as an object of worship save a cat, or an 
ape, or a crocodile, or a goat, or a dog : Refutation of this — chaps, 
xvii.-xxi. Celsus asserts that the Dioscuri, and Hercules, and 
iEsculapius, and Dionysus, are believed by the Greeks to have be- 
come gods after being men ; but that we refuse to recognise them as 
such, although they manifested many noble qualities, displayed for 
the benefit of mankind : General answer — chap. xxii. Comparison 
of our Lord's character with that of individuals referred to — chap, 
xxiii. Unfairness of Celsus in requiring Christians to believe the 
stories regarding such beings, and yet refusing his assent to the 
credibility of the Gospel narratives regarding Jesus — chap. xxiv. 
Examination of the case of -^Esculapius — chaps, xxv., xxvi. ; of Aris- 
teas of Proconnesus — chaps, xxvi.-xxix. Superiority of the churches 
of God over the public assemblies — chaps, xxix., xxx. Comparison of 
the cases of Abaris the Hyperborean and of the Clazoraenian with 
Jesus — chaps, xxxi., xxxii. Examination of the story of Cleomedes of 
Astypalea — chap, xxxiii. Celsus alleges that there are many other 
similar instances : This statement, even if true, shown to be inapplic- 
able — chap, xxxiv. Celsus challenged to say whether he believes 



such beings really to be'demons, or heroes, or gods : Consequences 
which will follow — chap. xxxv. Comparison of case of Antinous, 
the favourite of Hadrian, shown to be absurd— chaps, xxxvi.-xxxviii. 
Allegation of Celsus that faith alone leads Christians to give their 
assent to the doctrines of Jesus : Examination of this statement — 
chaps, xxxix.-xli. Comparison of mortal flesh of Jesus to gold, 
silver, or stone, shown to be inept — chap. xlii. Celsus asserts, that 
in ridiculing the worshippers of Jupiter, who was buried in Crete, 
while worshipping Jesus, who rose from the grave, we are guilty of 
inconsistency : Answer — chap, xliii. Various objections against 
Christianity, gathered from the more unintelligent Christians, ad- 
duced by Celsus ; enumeration of these : Answers — chaps, xliv., xlv. 
Christians do desire that there should be wise men among them — 
chaps, xlv.-xlviii. Allegation that only the low, and the vile, and 
the ignorant, with women and children, are desired as converts, 
shown to be false in the sense in which it is advanced by Celsus — 
chaps, xlix.-liv. Charge brought against teachers of Christianity of 
surreptitiously inculcating their doctrines upon children without 
the knowledge of their parents — chap. Iv. Examination of this 
charge — chaps. Ivi.-lviii, Answer to charge of Celsus, that Chris- 
tians invite the wicked alone to participation in their sacred rites — 
chaps, lix.-lxii. Refutation of the charge that God does not decide 
in accordance with truth, but with flattery — chap. Ixiii. Answer 
to question of Celsus, why sinners are preferred over others — chap. 
Ixiv. Falsehood of the assertion that Christians are able to gain 
over none but sinners — chap. Ixv. Error of Celsus in denying the 
possibility of a complete transformation of character — chap. Ixvi. 
His meaning probably was, that such transformation could not be 
effected by punishment ; this shown to be false — chap. Ixvii. Trans- 
formation of character, in certain cases, by means of philosophical 
discourses, not a matter to excite surprise : character of Christian 
preaching — chap. Ixviii. Examination of Celsus' statement, that to 
change a nature entirely is exceedingly difficult — chap. Ixix. God 
can do all that it is possible for Him to do without ceasing to be God 
— chap. Ixx. Falsity of statement that God alleviates the sufferings 
of the wicked through pity for their wailings, but casts off the good 
— chap. Ixxi. No truly wise man could be misled by any statements 
of an unintelligent Christian — chap. Ixxii. Falsity of statements, 
that the ambassador of Christianity relates only ridiculous things — 
chap. Ixxiii. That he seeks after the unintelligent alone — chap. Ixxiv. 
That he acts like a person who promises to restore patients to bodily 
health, but who prevents them from consulting skilled physicians, 
who would expose his ignorance — chap. Ixxv. That the Christian 
teacher acts like a drunken man, who should enter a company of 
drunkards, and accuse those who were sober of being drunk — chap. 
Ixivi. That he is like one suffering from ophthalmia, who should 




accuse the 'clear-sigMed of blindness. Assertion of Celsus that 
Christians lead on men by empty hopes: Answer — chap. Ixxvii. 
Character of those who become converts — chap. Ixxviii. Christianity 
the best system which men were capable of receiving — chaps. Ixxix.- 

BOOK IV., 161-267 

Subject of Fourth Book mainly to show that the prophecies re- 
garding Christ are true predictions — chap. i. The position main- 
tained by certain Christians, that there has already descended upon 
the earth a certain God, or Son of a God, who will make the inhabit- 
ants of the earth righteous, and by the Jews, that the advent of this 
being is still future, asserted by Celsus to be false: Answer — chap, 
ii. Question of Celsus as to the meaning of such a descent : An- 
swered — chap. iii. Argimaent of Celsus turned against himself — 
chap. iv. Celsus misrepresents Christians as saying that God Himself 
will come down to men, and that it follows that He has left His 
own abode — chap. v. Celsus represents the object of God's descent 
to be a desire to make Himself known, and to make trial of men ; and 
this, he alleges, testifies to an excessive and mortal ambition on the 
part of God : Answer — chaps, vi.-ix. Celsus asserts, that Christians 
talk of God in a way that is neither holy nor reverential, and likens 
them to those who in the Bacchic mysteries introduce phantoms and 
objects of terror: Answer — chap. x. Celsus endeavours to prove 
that the statements in the Christian records regarding floods and 
conflagrations are neither new nor wonderful, but may be paralleled 
and explained from the accounts of the Greeks : Answer — chaps, xi.- 
xiii. Celsus returns to the subject of the descent of God, alleging 
that if He came down among men, He must have undergone a 
change from better to worse, which is impossible in the case of an 
immortal being : Answer — chaps, xiv.-xvi. Superiority of the scrip - 
tural accounts of these matters over those of the Greek mythology — 
chap. xvii. Celsus repeats his objections: Answer — chaps, xviii., 
xix. Celsus' representation of the manner in which the Jews main- 
tain that the advent of Jesus is still future — chap. xx. Absurdity 
of the statement of Celsus that the overturning of the tower of Babel 
had the same object as the Deluge, viz. the purification of the earth 
— chap. xxi. Proof that Jews brought on themselves the divine 
wrath, because of their treatment of Jesus — chap. xxii. Celsus 
insolently compares Jews and Christians to bats, and ants, and 
frogs, and worms, etc. — chap, xxiii. Answer — chaps, xxi v., xxv. 
Superiority of Christians in their opinions and practice to idolaters 
— chaps, xxvi., xxvii. Celsus misrepresents the language of Chris- 
tians as to God's descent among men, and His intercourse with them — 
chaps, xxviii., xxix. Celsus, not understanding the words, " Let us 
make man in our image and Ukeness," has represented Christians as 



saying that they resemble God because created by Him: Answer — chap. 
XXX. Celsus again asserts that the Jews were fugitives from Egypt, 
who never performed anything of note, and were never held in any 
account : Answer — chaps, xxxi., xxxii. Celsus, in very ambiguous 
language, asserts that the Jews endeavoured to derive their origin 
from the first race of jugglers and deceivers, and appealed to the 
testimony of dark and ambiguous words ; Answer — chaps, xxxiii.- 
XXXV. Celsus adduces instances of alleged great antiquity put 
forth by other nations, and asserts that the Jews wove together 
some most incredible and stupid stories, regarding the creation of 
man, the formation of the woman, the issuing of certain commands by 
God, the opposition of the serpent, and the defeat of God, who is 
thus shown to have been weak at the very beginning of things, and 
unable to persuade a single individual to obey His will: Detailed 
answers to these misrepresentations — chaps, xxxvi.-xl. Celsus next 
ridicules the accounts of the Deluge and the Ark : Answers — chaps, 
xli., xHi. Goes on to carp at the histories of Abraham and Sarah, 
of Cain and Abel, of Esau and Jacob, of Laban and Jacob — chap, 
xliii. Explanation of the statement that "God gave wells to the 
righteous ;" other matters, also, to be allegorically understood — chap, 
xliv. Celsus does not recognise the love of truth which characterizes 
the writers of Scripture ;' figurative signification of Sodom, and of 
Lot and his daughters ; discussion on the nature of actions — chap, 
xlv. Spirit of hostility which characterizes Celsus, in selecting from 
the narratives of Scripture whatever may serve as ground of accusa- 
tion against Christians, while passing without notice whatever 
may redound to their credit : Instances — chap. xlvi. Celsus refers 
vaguely to the dreams of the butler and baker in the history of 
Joseph, and endeavours to find ground of objection in the history 
of Joseph's conduct towards his brethren — chap, xlvii. Asserts that 
the more modest among Jews and Christians endeavour to give 
these things an allegorical meaning, because they are ashamed of 
them : Answer — chap, xlviii. Falsity of his assertion that the scrip - 
tural writings are incapable of receiving an allegorical meaning — 
chaps, xlix., 1. The treatises which give allegorical explanations of 
the law of Moses evidently unknown to Celsus, otherwise he could 
not have said that these allegorical explanations were more shame- 
ful than the fables themselves : Illustrations — chap. li. . Celsus refers 
to the work entitled " Controversy between Papiscus and Jason," 
in support of his assertions — chaps, lii., liii. Celsus conceals his 
real opinions, although he ought to have avowed them, when quot- 
ing from the Timxus of Plato, to the effect that -God made immortal 
things alone, while mortal things are the work of others ; that the 
soul is the work of God, while the body is different; that there is 
no difference between the body of a man, and that of a bat : Exa- 
mination of these statements— chaps, liv.-lix. Asserts that a common 



nature pervades all bodies, and that no product of matter is im- 
mortal : Answers — chaps. Ix., Ixi. Maintains that the amount of evil is 
a fixed quantity, which has never varied : Answers— chaps. Ixii.-lxiv. 
That it is difficult for any but a philosopher to ascertain the origin 
of evils, but that it is sufficient for the multitude to say that they 
do not proceed from God, but cleave to matter; and that, as the 
cause of mortal events never varies, the same things must always 
return, according to the appointed cycles: Answers — chaps. Ixv.-lxix. 
Assertion of Celsus that a thing which seems to be evil may not 
necessarily be so : Examined — chap. Ixx. Celsus misunderstands the 
anthropopathic language of Scripture : Explanation — chaps. Ixxi.- 
Ixxiii. Celsus finds fault with Christians for asserting that God 
made all things for the sake of man, whereas they were made as 
much for the sake of the irrational animals : Answer — chap. Ixxiv. 
Celsus holds that thunders, and lightnings, and rains are not the 
works of God; that even if they were, they were brought into 
existence as much for the sake of plants, and trees, and herbs, as 
for that of human beings : Answer — chaps. Ixxv., Ixxvi. Celsus main- 
tains that the verse of Euripides, viz. "The sun and night are to 
mortals slaves," is untrue, as these luminaries may be said to be 
created for the use of ants and flies as much as of man : Answer — 
chap. Ixxvii. Asserts that we may be said to be created as much 
on account of irrational animals as they on our account : Answer — 
chaps. lxxviii.'-lxxx. Celsus maintains that the superiority of man 
over irrational animals in building cities and founding political 
communities is only apparent : Examination of this assertion — chaps. 
Ixxxi.-lxxxiv. No great difference, according to Celsus, between 
the actions of men, and those of ants and bees — chap. Ixxxv. Cer- 
tain irrational animals, according to Celsus, possess the power of 
sorcery ; instances : Examination of these — chaps. Ixxxvi., Ixxxvii. 
Assertion that the thoughts entertained of God by irrational animals 
are not inferior to those of men; illustrations: Answer — chaps. 
Ixxxviii., Ixxxix. Degrading views of Celsus — chaps, xc.-xcix. 

BOOK v., 268-335 

Continuation of the subject — chap. i. Celsus repeats his denial 
that no God, or son of God, has either come, or will come, to earth ; 
that if certain angels did come, by what name are they to be called ? 
whether by that of gods or some other race of beings? in all proba- 
bility such angels were demons : Eefutation — chaps, ii.-v. Celsus 
proceeds to express surprise that the Jews should worship heaven 
and angels, and yet pass by the heavenly bodies, as the sun and 
moon ; which procedure is, according to his view, most unreason- 
able : Refutation — chaps, vi.-x. Defence of Christians against the 
same charge — chaps, x.-xiii. Celsus declares the Christian behef 
in the future conflagration of the world, in the salvation of the 


righteous, in the resurrection of the body, most foolish and irra- 
tional, alleging that this belief is not held by some of the Christian 
believers, and adducing certain considerations regarding the cha- 
racter of God and the nature of bodies which render such things 
impossible — chap. xiv. Refutation in detail of these objections — 
chaps, xv.-xxiv. Examination of Celsus' statement that the various 
quarters of the earth were from the beginning allotted to different 
superintending spirits, and that in this way the administration of 
the world is carried on — chaps, xxv.-xxviii. Considerations of a pro- 
founder kind may be stated regarding the original distribution of the 
various quarters of the earth among different superintending spirits, 
which considerations may be shown to be free from the absurd con- 
sequences which would follow from the views of Celsus ; enumera- 
tion of these — chaps, xxix.-xxxiii. Statement of Celsus regarding 
the request of the people of Marea and Apis to the oracle of Ammon, 
as related by Herodotus, and the inference which he seems to draw 
from it and other similar instances adduced by him, examined and 
refuted — chaps, xxxiv.-xxxix. Examination of Celsus' quotation 
from Pindar, that " Law is king of all things " — chap. xl. Celsus 
goes on to state objections which apply to Jews much more than to 
Christians, viz. that the Jewish doctrine regarding heaven is not 
peculiar to them, but has long ago been received by the Persians ; 
and proceeds to observe that it makes no difference by what name 
the Supreme Being is called ; nor are the Jews to be deemed holier 
than other nations because abstaining from swine's flesh, etc. Detailed 
examination and refutation of these statements — chaps, xli.-xlix. 
Celsus denies that the Jews were regarded by God with greater 
favour than other nations : Answer — chap. 1. Statement of Celsus 
that, admitting Jesus to have been an angel. He was not the first 
who came to visit men, for the histories relate that there have been 
many instances, several of which he enumerates — chap. Hi. Refutation 
— chaps, liii.-lviii. Conclusion of Celsus that Jews and Christians 
have the same God, and that the latter adopt the Jewish accounts 
regarding the six days ; other points of agreement mentioned : exa- 
mination of these statements, as well as of his admission that certain 
Christians will admit the identity, while others will deny it — chaps, 
lix.-lxii. Argument of Celsus against Christianity, founded upon 
the existence of those who have worshipped demons as their teacher, 
and of sects that have hated each other, examined and refuted — 
chap. Ixiii. Celsus has misunderstood the prediction of the apostle 
that deceivers will come in the last times — chap. Ixiv. Falsity of 
Celsus' statement that all who differ so widely may be heard saying, 
" The world is crucified to me, and I unto the world " — chap. Ixv. 

BOOK VI., . 336-424 

Object of Sixth Book specially to refute those objections which 




Celsus brings against Christians, and not those derived from writers 
on philosophy — chap. i. Explanation of the reasons which led the 
writers of Scripture to adopt a simple style of address — chap. ii. 
Quotation from Plato regarding the " chief good," and remarks upon 
it — chap. iii. Inconsistent conduct of those who can so express 
themselves pointed out — chap. iv. Comparison of the Platonic 
phraseology, regarding the kindling of a light in the soul, with the 
language of Scripture — chap. v. Examination of the question 
whether Plato was acquainted with doctrines more profound than 
those which are contained in his writings, and demonstration of the 
fact that the prophets did know of greater things than any in Scrip- 
ture, but did not commit them to writing — chaps, vi.-x. Celsus 
inquires whether, amid the perplexity arising from the existence of 
different Christs, men are to cast the dice to divine which of them 
they ought to follow ? Answer — chap. xi. Perversion of the lan- 
guage of Paul regarding wisdom corrected — chaps, xii., xiii. Exa- 
mination of Celsus' charge that Christians are uninstructed, servile, 
and ignorant — chap. xiv. Sneer of Celsus at the humility of Chris- 
tians answered — chap. xv. Celsus charges Jesus with having per- 
verted the language of Plato in His saying regarding the impossibility 
of a rich man's entering the kingdom of heaven : Answer — chap. xvi. 
Comparison of some points of Scripture doctrine with statements of 
Plato — chaps, xvii., xviii. Charge of Celsus that Christians have 
misunderstood language of Plato, in boasting of a " super-celestial " 
God: Answer — chap. xix. Explanation of certain terms referring 
to heaven — chaps, xx., xxi. Assertion of Celsus, that the Persian 
mysteries of Mithras contain many obscure allusions to those heavenly 
things mentioned in the Christian writings ; absurdity of his state- 
ments — chaps, xxii., xxiii. Celsus refers to a certain diagram, the 
statements regarding which he appears to have borrowed from the 
sect of the Ophites ; which statements, however, are of no credibility 
— chap. xxiv. Description of said diagram, and explanation of the 
names inscribed in it — chaps, xxv., xxvi. Certain statements of 
Celsus regarding the "seal" examined — chap, xxvii. Celsus asserts 
that Christians term the Creator an "accursed" divinity, and asks 
what could be more foolish or insane than such senseless wisdom ? 
Examination of these statements — chaps, xxviii., xxix. Celsus returns 
to the subject of the seven ruling demons, and makes reference to 
the diagram — chap. xxx. Quotations illustrating the manner of in- 
voking said demons — chap. xxxi. Remarks on the procedure of 
Celsus — chap, xxxii. Further statements of Celsus — chap, xxxiii. 
Continuation of statements of Celsus, to the effect that Christians 
heap together one thing after another, — discourses of prophets, circles 
upon circles, effluents from an earthly church, and from circum- 
cision ; and a power flowing from one Prunicos, a virgin and living 
soul; and a heaven slain in order to live, etc. etc.— chap, xxxiv. 


Detailed examination and answer to these statements — chaps, xxxv.- 
xxxvii. Celsns introduces other charges, stating that there are in- 
scriptions in the diagram containing two words, " a greater and a 
less," which are referred to Father and Son : Answer — chap, xxxviii. 
Statement of Celsus, that names of demons among the Greeks are 
different from what they are among the Scythians ; gives illustra- 
tions : Answer — chap, xxxix. Statement of Celsus, on the autho- 
rity of Dionysius, an Egyptian magician, that magic arts have no 
power over philosophers, but only over uneducated men and persons 
of corrupt morals : Falsity of this shown — chap. xli. Allegation of 
Celsus, that Christians have invented the fiction of the devil or 
Satan, as an adversary to God, who counterworks His plans and 
defeats them ; that the Son of God, even, has been vanquished by 
the devil; and that the devil will exhibit great and marvellous 
works, and claim for himself the glory of God : Examination and 
refutation of these statements — chaps, xlii. - xliv. Celsus has 
misunderstood the statements of Scripture regarding Antichrist : 
Explanation of these — chaps, xlv., xlvi. Celsus perverts the lan- 
guage of Christians regarding the "Son of God:" Answer — 
chap, xlvii. Mystical meaning of "Son of God" explained — chap, 
xlviii. Celsus characterizes the Mosaic cosmogony as extremely silly, 
and alleges that Moses and the prophets, from ignorance, have 
woven together a web of sheer nonsense : Answers — chaps, xlix.-li. 
Celsus will not decide whether the world was uncreated and inde- 
structible, or created but not destructible — chap. lii. Brings for- 
ward objections that were raised against Marcion, and after several 
disparaging observations on the manner of the divine procedure 
towards men, asks how it is that God created evil, etc. — chap. liii. 
Answer to the foregoing — chaps, liv.-lix. Celsus repeats charges 
formerly made regarding the days of creation — chaps. Ix., Ixi. Com- 
ments on the expression, " The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it : " 
Answer — chap. Ixii. Asserts that " the first-born of every creature " 
is the image of God, and that God did not make man in His image, 
because he is unlike to any other species of being ; explanation of 
the expression, "Man is made after the image of God" — chap. Ixiii. 
God partakes neither of form nor colour, nor can motion be predi- 
cated of Him ; explanation of passages that seem to imply the reverse 
— chap. Ixiv. Inconsistency of Celsus with his declared opinions, in 
saying that God is the source of all things ; asserts that He cannot 
be reached by word : Explanation and distinction — chap. Ixv. Celsus 
asks, in the person of another, how it is possible to know God, or to 
learn the way that leads to Him, because darkness is thrown before 
the eyes, and nothing distinctly seen : Answer to this query, 
and remark of Celsus retorted upon himself— chaps. Ixvi.-lxviii. 
Celsus represents our answer as being this: "Since God is great 
and difficult to see, He put His own Spirit into a body that resem- 



bled ours, and sent it down to us, that we might be enabled to hear 
Him, and become acquainted with Him : " Examination of this state- 
ment — chaps. Ixix., Ixx. According to Celsus, our doctrine regard- 
ing the spirit is the same as that of the Stoics, who maintain that 
"God is a spirit, diffused through all things, and containing all 
things within Himself:" Answer — chap. Ixxi. Assertion that the 
Son of God would not be immortal, because He was a spirit exist- 
ing in a human body : Answer — chap. Ixxii. Criticises, in scoffing 
language, the incarnation ; exposure of his errors — chap. Ixxiii. Re- 
turns to the subject of Marcion's opinions ; introduces " two sons of 
God," and speaks scoffingly of the supposed controversies between 
them — chap. Ixxiv. Maintains that the body of Jesus must have 
been different from that of other beings, in virtue of His divine 
qualities. Consideration of the prophecies regarding Jesus : Answers 
to his statements — chaps. Ixxv.-lxxvii. Celsus ridicules the sending 
of God's Spirit into one corner of the world alone, and compares God 
to Jupiter in the comedy, who sent Mercury to the Athenians and 
Lacedemonians: Answer — chaps. Ixxviii., Ixxix. Celsus terms the 
Chaldeans a divinely-inspired nation ; speaks of the Egyptian people 
as also inspired, although he condemned them formerly, and refuses 
this title to the Jews ; inconsistency of all this — chap. Ixxx. Pre- 
tends not to understand how God could send His Son amongst 
wicked men, who were to inflict punishment upon Him : Answer — 
chap. Ixxxi. 

BOOK Vir., 425-491 

Celsus denies that the Jewish prophets predicted any of the events 
which occurred in the life of Christ, and asserts that those who 
believe in the existence of another God, besides that of the Jews, 
cannot refute his objections ; while Christians, who recognise the 
God of the Jews, rely for their defence on the alleged predictions 
regarding Christ : Remarks — chap. ii. Celsus declares Christians 
inconsistent in rejecting the ancient Grecian oracles of Delphi, 
Dodona, Clarus, Branchidse, Jupiter Ammon, etc., which neverthe- 
less were of high importance, while insisting that the sayings uttered 
in Judea are marvellous and unchangeably true : Detailed answer to 
this objection — chaps, iii.-viii. Asserts that many individuals assume 
the attitude of inspiration, and claim to be God, or the Son of God, 
or the divine Spirit, and to have come down to save a perishing 
world, and promise rewards to those who do them homage, and 
threaten vengeance upon others ; and, moreover, to these promises 
add strange and unintelligible words, which may be applied by any 
impostor to his own purposes — chap. ix. Answer to these charges — 
chaps, x.-xii. Falsity of Celsus' statement that God favours the 
commission of evil — chap. xiii. Celsus objects, that even if the 
prophets foretold that the great God would become a slave, or die, 



there was no necessity that He should do so simply because such 
things had been predicted : Answers — chaps, xiv.-xvii. Celsus objects 
further, that if the prophets of the God of the Jews foretold that 
Jesus was to be the Son of the same God, how could commands 
have been given through Moses that the Jews should accumulate 
wealth, extend their dominion, fill the earth, put their enemies to 
the sword, under threat of being treated by God as His enemies ; 
whilst the man of Nazareth, His Son, delivered commands of a totally 
opposite kind ? Errors of Celsus pointed out in detail, and the nature 
of the two dispensations explained — chaps, xviii.-xxvi. Falsity of 
assertion that Christians believe the Divine Being to be corporeal in 
His nature, and to possess a body like a man — chap, xxvii. Celsus 
alleges that the idea of a better land than this, to which Christians 
hope to go after death, has been borrowed from the divine men of a 
former age, and quotes from Homer and Plato in support of his 
assertion: Answers — chaps, xxviii.-xxxi. Celsus next assails the 
doctrine of the resurrection, and asserts that we uphold this doctrine 
in order that we may see and know God : Answer — chaps, xxxii.- 
xxxiv. The oracles of Trophonius, etc., to which Celsus would 
direct Christians, assuring them that there they would see God 
distinctly, shown to be demons — chap. xxxv. Language of Chris- 
tians as to the manner in which they see God misrepresented by 
Celsus — chaps, xxxvi.-xxxix. Language of Celsus quite inappro- 
priate as addressed to Christians, and applicable only to those whose 
doctrines differ widely from theirs — chap. xl. Celsus recommends 
Christians to follow the guidance of divinely inspired poets, wise 
men, and philosophers, without mentioning their names : Remarks 
on this — chap. xli. Proceeds to name Plato as an effective teacher 
of theological truth, quoting from the Timxus to the effect that it 
is a hard matter to find out the Maker and Father of the universe, 
and an impossibility to make Him known to all after having found 
Him ; and remarking that Christians cannot follow the example of 
Plato and others, who proceed by analysis and synthesis, because 
they are wedded to the flesh : Answers — chaps, xlii.-xlv. General 
remarks upon the tone in which Christians carry on controversy with 
their opponents — chap. xlvi. Actions of those who, although seeming 
to be wise, did not yield themselves to the divine teaching — chap, 
xlvii. Purity of life exhibited by Christians — chap, xlviii. Even by 
those who are unable to investigate the deeper questions of theology 
— chap. xlix. Explanation of certain scriptural expressions regard- 
ing "birth" or "generation" — chap. 1. Difference between 
Christians and those who received a portion of the divine Spirit 
before the dispensation of Christianity — chap. li. Celsus proceeds 
to say to Christians that they would have done better to have 
selected as the object of their homage some one who had died a 
glorious death, whose divinity might have received the support of 


some myth to perpetuate his memory, and names Hercules, iEscu- 
lapius, Anaxarchus, and Epictetus, as instances, alleging that Jesus 
never uttered under suffering any words that could be compared to 
their utterances— chap. liii. Answers— chaps, liv.-lv. Sneering 
remark of Celsus that we might better have given the name of Son of 
God to the Sibyl than to Jesus— chap. Ivi. Scoffing advice of Celsus, 
that we had better choose Jonah than Jesus for our God : Answer 
— chap. Ivii. Celsus asserts that the Christian precept, " Whoso- 
ever shall strike thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other also," 
is an ancient saying, admirably expressed long ago, and reported by 
Christians in a coarser way, and quotes from Plato in support of 
his statement : Answer— chaps. Iviii.-lxi. Celsus goes onto say that 
Christians cannot tolerate temples, altars, or images, and that in this 
peculiarity they resemble Scythians and other barbarous nations, 
adducing quotations from Herodotus and Heraclitus in support of 
his opinion that none, save those who are utterly childish, can take 
these things for gods — chap. Ixii. Detailed answer — chaps. Ixiii.- 
Ixvi. Celsus remarks that Christians will not admit that these 
images are erected in honour of certain beings who are gods, but 
maintain that these are demons, and ought not to be worshipped : 
Remarks in answer — chap. Ixvii. Asks why demons are not to be 
worshipped, and asserts that everything, whether the work of 
angels, demons, or heroes, is part of the providential government of 
the Most High God : Answers — chaps. Ixviii.-lxx. 

BOOK Vni., 492-559 

Celsus, after his question regarding the worship of demons, pro- 
ceeds to represent us as saying that it is impossible to serve many 
masters, and remarks that this is the language of sedition, and used 
only by those who stand aloof from all human society, etc. Con- 
sideration of the true language of Scripture upon this and kindred 
points, in answer to this statement — chaps, ii.-viii. Reckless lan- 
guage of Celsus, who would have us believe that we are led by our 
worship of God to that of other things which belong to God, with- 
out injury to ourselves, and who yet adds, ""We may honour none 
except those to whom that right has been given by God :" Remarks 
— chap. ix. Nature of the honour which Christians pay to the Son 
of God — chap. x. Celsus asserts that those who uphold the unity of 
God are guilty of impiety : Answer — chap. xi. That if Christians 
worshipped one God alone, they would have valid arguments against 
the worship of others, but they pay excessive reverence to one who 
is the servant of God : Refutation — chaps.'xii.-xiv. Celsus quotes 
from the opinions of some obscure heretical sect, contained in what 
is called a Heavenly Dialogue^ to the effect that we suppose another 
God, who is above the heavens, to be the father of Him whom we 
honour, in order that we may honour the Son of Man alone ; whom 


also we assert to be stronger than God, who rules the world and 
who rules over them : Answers — chaps, xv.-xvi. Celsus goes on to 
say, that our shrinking from raising altars, statues, and temples, has 
been agreed upon among us as the badge of a secret society : Answer — 
chaps, xvii.-xx. Assertion of Celsus, that those devoted to the service 
of God may take part in public feasts or idol offerings : Answer — 
chap. xxi. Answer to objection that Christians themselves observe 
certain days, as the Preparation, the Passover, and Pentecost — 
— chaps, xxii., xxiii. Reasons urged by Celsus why Christians may 
make use of idol offerings and public sacrifices at public feasts ; 
examination of these — chaps, xxiv.— xxvii. Celsus proceeds to state 
that if Christians abstain from idol offerings, they ought, in consis- 
tency, to abstain from all animal food, like the Pythagoreans : 
Answer — chaps, xxviii.-xxxii. Celsus alleges that if we come into 
the world at all, we must give thanks, and first-fruits, and prayers 
to demons, that they may prove good and kind: Answer — chaps, 
xxxiii., xxxiv. Celsus remarks that the satraps of a Persian or 
Roman monarch could do great injury to those who despised them, 
and asks, will the satraps and ministers of air and earth be insulted 
with impunity? Answer — chaps, xxxv., xxxvi. Asserts that if Chris- 
tians invoke those whom they address by barbarous names they will 
have power, but not if invoked in Latin and Greek; falsity and 
absurdity of this statement — chap, xxxvii. Misrepresents the lan- 
guage addressed by Christians to the Grecian statues — chap, xxxviii. 
Scoffing language of Celsus to the Christians on the rejection of 
Jesus, whom he terms a demon, and on his inability to save His fol- 
lowers from being put to death — chap, xxxix. Contrast between the 
Christian and heathen doctrine of punishment — chap. xl. Railing 
address of Celsus, to the effect that although Christians may revile 
the statues of the gods, they would not have reviled the gods them- 
selves with impunity ; that nothing happened to those who crucified 
Jesus ; that no father was ever so inhuman as was the father of 
Jesus, etc. etc. : Answers — chaps, xli.-xliv. Celsus asserts that it is 
of no use to collect all the oracular responses that have been deli- 
vered, for the world is full of them, and many remarkable events 
have happened in consequence of them, which establish their reality 
and divinity ; general remark in answer — chap. xlv. Contrast be- 
tween conduct of Pythian priestess, who frequently allowed herself 
to be bribed, and that of the prophets, who were admired for their 
downright truthfulness — chap. xlvi. Assertion of Greeks, that the 
Jewish history contains fabulous accounts, refuted — chap, xlvii. 
Endeavour of Celsus to show that the doctrines delivered at the cele- 
bration of the pagan mysteries are the same as those of the Chris- 
tians ; absurdity of this — chap, xlviii. Celsus reproaches Christians 
with inconsistency in their treatment of the body : Answer — chaps, 
xlix., 1. Celsus approves the Christian doctrine that the righteous 



shall enjoy everlasting life, and the wicked shall suffer everlasting 
punishment ; inconsistency of this on the part of Celsus — chap. li. 
Anxiety of Origen to bring all men to receive the whole system of 
Christian truth — chap. lii. Doubtful manner in which Celsus speaks 
of certain weighty matters, and reluctance on his part to set down 
any of them as false ; inconsistency of this with the manner in which 
he treats the doctrines of Christianity, which he regards with a hos- 
tile spirit — chaps, liii., liv. Celsus asserts that Christians must make 
their choice between two alternatives ; nature of these : Answer — 
chaps. Iv.-lvii. Seeks to degrade the souls of men to the worship of 
demons, by referring to certain practices and beliefs prevalent among 
the Egyptians: Answer — chaps. Iviii.-lix. Admits that there is a 
dangerous tendency in demon-worship: Remarks — chaps. Ix.-lxii. 
Yet adds that the more just opinion is that demons desire and need 
nothing, but that they take pleasure in those who discharge towards 
them ofl&ces of piety : Answer — chaps. Ixiii.-lxv. Celsus admits that 
no worshipper of God should submit to anything base, but should 
encounter any torments or death, rather than do anything unworthy 
of God ; and yet to celebrate the sun, or the praises of Minerva, is 
only to render higher praise to God ; inconsistency of this — chaps. 
Ixvi., Ixvii. Maintains that the Homeric saying must be observed, 
" Let one be king, whom the son of crafty Saturn appointed ; " sense 
in which this must be understood by Christians — chap. Ixviii. In- 
consistency on the part of Celsus, after what he has said, in asking 
whether God would fight for the Romans, if they were to become 
converts to the worship of the Most High — chaps. Ixix., Ixx. Further 
misrepresentations of Celsus pointed out — chap. Ixxi. Time will 
come when the Word will change every soul into His own perfec- 
tions — chap. Ixxii. Celsus enjoins us to help the king with all our 
might, and, if required, to fight under him, or lead an army along 
with him : Answer — chap. Ixxiii. Also to take oflBce in the govern- 
ment of the country, if necessary for the maintenance of the laws 
and the support of religion : Answer — chap. Ixxv. Conclusion, in 
which Origen mentions that Celsus had announced his intention of 
writing a second treatise, which Origen requests Ambrose to send 
him if he should have carried his intentions into execution. 


RIGEN was born in all probability at Alexandria, 
about the year 185 a.d.^ Notwithstanding that 
his name is derived from that of an Egyptian deity 
(Horus or Or^)^ there seems no reason to doubt 
that his parents were Christian at the time of his birth. His 
father Leonides was probably, as has been conjectured,^ one of 
the many teachers of rhetoric or grammar who abounded in 
that city of Grecian culture, and appears to have been a man 
of decided piety. Under his superintendence, the youthful 
Origen was not only educated in the various branches of 
Grecian learning, but was also required daily to commit to 
memory and to repeat portions of Scripture prescribed him by 
his father ; and while under this training, the spirit of inquiry 
into the meaning of Scripture, which afterwards formed so strik- 
ing a feature in the literary character of the great Alexandrine, 
began to display itself. Eusebius* relates that he was not 
satisfied with the plain and obvious meaning of the text, but 
sought to penetrate into its deeper signification, and caused his 
father trouble by the questions which he put to him regarding 
the sense of particular passages of Holy Writ. Leonides, like 
many parents, assumed the appearance of rebuking the curiosity 
of the boy for inquiring into things which were beyond his 
youthful capacity, and recommended him to be satisfied with 
the simple and apparent meaning of Scripture, while he is 

1 Cf. Eedepenning's Origenes, vol. i. pp. 417-420 (Erste Beilage : iiber 
Origenes Geburtsjahr und den Ort, wo er geboren wurde). 

2 Cf. Ihid. (Zweite Beilage : iiber Namen und Beinamen der Origenes). 

3 Encyclopaedie der Katholischen Theologie, s.v. Origenes. 
* Hist. Eccles. b. yi. c. ii. § 9. 

xxiv LIFE OF OniGEN. 

described as inwardly rejoicing at the signs of talent exhibited 
by his son, and as giving thanks to God for having made him 
the parent of such a child.^ But this state of things was not 
to last ; for in the year 202, when Origen was about seventeen 
years of age, the great persecution of the Christians under 
Septimius Severus broke out, and among the victims was his 
father Leonides, who was apprehended and put in prison. 
Origen wished to share the fate of his father, but was pre- 
vented from quitting his home by the artifice of his mother, 
who was obliged to conceal his clothes to prevent him from 
carrying out his purpose ! He wrote to his father, however, 
a letter, exhorting him to constancy under his trials, and en- 
treating him not to change his convictions for the sake of his 
family.^ By the death of his father, whose property was con- 
fiscated to the imperial treasury, Origen was left, with his 
mother and six younger brothers dependent upon him for 
support. At this juncture, a wealthy and benevolent lady of 
Alexandria opened to him her house, of which he became an 
inmate for a short time. The society, however, which he 
found there was far from agreeable to the feelings of the 
youth. The lady had adopted as her son one Paul of Antioch, 
whom Eusebius terms an " advocate of the heretics then exist- 
ing at Alexandria." The eloquence of the man drew crowds 
to hear him, although Origen could never be induced to regard 
him with any favour, nor even to join with him in any act of 
worship, giving then, as Eusebius remarks, '^ unmistakeable 
specimens of the orthodoxy of his faith." ^ 

Finding his position in this household so uncomfortable, he 
resolved to enter upon the career of a teacher of grammar, and 
to support himself by his own exertions. As he had been 
carefully instructed by his father in Grecian literature, and 
had devoted himself to study after his death, he was enabled 
successfully to carry out his intention. And now begins the 
second stadium of his career. 

The diligence and ability with which Origen prosecuted his 
profession speedily attracted attention and brought him many 

1 Hist. Eccles. b. vi. c. ii. §§ 10, 11. 

2 Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. b. vi. c. ii. : "^Tn^i, fiyj h' ijfcxg «AAo rl (ppouYiang. 


pupils. Among others who sought to avail themselves of his 
instructions in the principles of the Christian religion, were 
two young men, who afterwards became distinguished in the 
history of the Church, — Plutarch, who died the death of martyr- 
dom, and Heraclas, who afterwards became bishop of Alex- 
andria. It was not, however, merely by his success as a teacher 
that Origen gained a reputation. The brotherly kindness and 
unwearied affection which he displayed to all the victims of the 
persecution, which at that time was raging with peculiar severity 
at Alexandria under the prefect Aquila, and in which many 
of his old pupils and friends were martyred, are described as 
being so marked and conspicuous, as to draw down upon him 
the fury of the mob, so that he was obliged on several occasions 
to flee from house to house to escape instant death. It is easy 
to understand that services of this kind could not fail to attract 
the attention of the heads of the Christian community at Alex- 
andria ; and partly, no doubt, because of these, but chiefly on 
account of his high literary reputation. Bishop Demetrius 
appointed him to the office of master in the Catechetical 
School, which was at that time vacant (by the departure of 
Clement, who had quitted the city on the outbreak of the per- 
secution), although he was still a layman, and had not passed 
his eighteenth year. The choice of Demetrius was amply 
justified by the result. Origen discontinued his instructions in 
literature, in order to devote himself exclusively to the work 
of teaching in the Catechetical School. For his labours he 
refused all remuneration. He sold the books which he pos- 
sessed, — many of them manuscripts which he himself had copied, 
— on condition of receiving from the purchaser four obols^ a day ; 
and on this scanty pittance he subsisted, leading for many years 
a life of the greatest asceticism and devotion to study. After a 
day of labour in the school, he used to devote the greater part 
of the night to the investigation of Scripture, sleeping on the 
bare ground, and keeping frequent fasts. He carried out lite- 
rally the command of the Saviour, not to possess two coats, or to 
wear shoes, and consummated his work of mortification of the 
flesh by an act of self-mutilation, springing from a perverted 
interpretation of our Lord's words in Matt. xix. 12, and under- 
1 The obol was about three-halfpence of our money. 


taken from a desire to place himself beyond the reach of 
temptation in the intercourse which he necessarily had to hold 
with his youthful female catechumens.^ This act was destined 
to exercise a baneful influence upon his future fortunes in the 

During the episcopate of Zephyrinus (201-218) Origen 
visited Rome, and on his return again resumed his duties in 
the Catechetical School, transferring the care of the younger 
catechumens to his friend and former pupil Heraclas, that he 
might devote himself with less distraction to the instruction of 
the more advanced, and to the more thorough investigation and 
exposition of Scripture. With a view to accomplish this more 
successfully, it is probable that about this time he set himself 
to acquire a knowledge of the Hebrew language, the fruit of 
which may be seen in the fragments which remain to us of 
his magnum opus, the Hexapla ; and as many among the more 
cultured heathens, attracted by his reputation, seem to have 
attended his lectures, he felt it necessary to make himself more 
extensively acquainted with the doctrines of the Grecian schools, 
that he might meet his opponents upon . their own ground, and 
for this purpose he attended the prelections of Ammonius Saccas, 
at that time in high repute at Alexandria as an expounder of 
the Neo-Platonic philosophy, of which school he has generally 
been considered the founder. The influence which the study 
of philosophical speculations exerted upon the mind of Origen 
may be traced in the whole course of his after development, 
and proved the fruitful source of many of those errors which 
were afterwards laid to his char£[e, and the controversies 
arising out of which disturbed the peace of the Church during 
the two following centuries. As was to be expected, the fame 
of the great Alexandrine teacher was not confined to his native 
city, but spread far and wide ; and an evidence of this was the 
request made by the Roman governor of the province of Arabia 
to Demetrius and to the prefect of Egypt, that they would send 
Origen to him that he might hold an interview with one whose 

^ For a full discussion of the doubts wliich have been thrown upon the 
credibility of Eusebius in this matter by Schnitzer and Baur, cf. Rede- 
penning, Origenes, vol. i. pp. 444-458, and Hefele, Encyclopaedic der 
KathoUschen Theologie, s.v. Origenes. 

LIFE OF OniGEN-. xxvU 

reputation was so great. We have no details of this visit, for 
all that Eusebius relates is that, " having accomplished the 
objects of his journey, he again returned to Alexandria." ^ It 
was in the year 216 that the Emperor Caracalla visited Alex- 
andria, and directed a bloody persecution against its inhabitants, 
especially the literary members of the community, in revenge 
for the sarcastic verses which had been composed against him 
for the murder of his brother Geta, a crime which he had per- 
petrated under circumstances of the basest treachery and cruelty. 

Origen occupied too prominent a position in the literary 
society of the city to be able to remain with safety, and there- 
fore withdrew to Palestine to his friend Bishop Alexander of 
Jerusalem, and afterwards to Caesarea, where he received an 
honourable welcome from Bishop Theoctistus. This step proved 
the beginning of his after troubles. These two men, filled with 
becoming admiration for the most learned teacher in the Church, 
requested him to expound the Scriptures in their presence in a 
public assembly of the Christians. Origen, although still a 
layman, and without any sacerdotal dignity in the Church, 
complied with the request. When this proceeding reached the 
ears of Demetrius, he was filled with the utmost indignation. 
^* Such an act was never either heard or done before, that lay- 
men should deliver discourses in the presence of the bishops," ^ 
was his indignant remonstrance to the two offending bishops, 
and Origen received a command to return immediately to Alex- 
andria. He obeyed, and for some years appears to have devoted 
himself solely to his studies in his usual spirit of self-abnegation. 

It was probably during this period that the commencement of 
his friendship with Ambrositis is to be dated. Little is known 
of this individual. Eusebius^ states that he had formerly been 
an adherent of the Valentinian heresy, but had been converted 
by the arguments and eloquence of Origen to the orthodox faith 
of the Church. They became intimate friends; and as Ambrose 
seems to have been possessed of large means, and entertained an 
unbounded admiration of the learning and abilities of his friend, 
it was his delight to bear the expenses attending the transcrip- 
tion and publication of the many works which he persuaded him 
1 Euseb. Hist. Eccles. b. vi. c. 19, § 16. ^ j^ci^ b. vi. c. 19. 

3 Ibid. b. vi. c. 18. 


to give to the world. He furnished him " with more than seven 
amanuenses, who relieved each other at stated times, and with 
an equal number of transcribers, along with young girls who 
had been practised in caligraphy,"^ to make fair copies for pub- 
lication of the works dictated by Origen. The literary activity 
of these years must have been prodigious, and probably they 
were among the happiest which Origen ever enjoyed. Engaged 
in his favourite studies, surrounded by many friends, adding 
yearly to his own stores of learning, and enriching the litera- 
ture of the Church with treatises of the highest value in the 
department of sacred criticism and exegesis, it is difficult to 
conceive a condition of things more congenial to the mind of 
a true scholar. Only one incident of any importance seems to 
have taken place during these peaceful years, — his visit to Julia 
Mammsea, the pious mother of Alexander Severus. This noble 
lady had heard of the fame of Origen, and invited him to visit 
her at Antioch, sending a military escort to conduct him from 
Alexandria to the Syrian capital. He remained with her some 
time, " exhibiting innumerable illustrations of the glory of the 
Lord, and of the excellence of divine instruction, and then 
hastened back to his accustomed studies."^ 

These happy years, however, were soon to end. Origen was 
called to Greece, probably about the year 228,^ upon what 
Eusebius vaguely calls ^' the pressing need of ecclesiastical 
affairs," * but which has generally been understood ^ to refer to 
the prevalence of heretical views in the Church there, for the 
eradication of which the assistance of Origen was invoked. 
Before entering on this journey, he obtained letters of recom- 
mendation from his bishop.^ He passed through Palestine on 
his way to Greece, and at Caesarea received at the hands of his 
friends Alexander and Theoctistus the consecration to the 
office of presbyter, — an honour which proved to him afterwards 

^ Euseb. Hist. Eccles. b. vi. c. 23. 

2 Euseb. Hist. Eccles. b. vi. c. 21 : z-xp Jj xP^'^^" ^let'rpi^^xg^ Tr'KilaToi. rs 
oaoc iig rvju rov Kvpiov lo^xu x,xl r^g rov &siou liZxaKocT^iiov dpirvig ixthi^x- 
^£vog, I-tt] rxg avwijOstg 'iaTnvli ^(xrpifixg. 

3 Cf. Hefele, Encyclopaedic^ etc., s.v. Origenes. 

* 'E-rg/yoyffnc xpiixg iKKT^YiaixartKuv hiKx Trpxyf^xrco:/.^ 

^ Cf. Redepenning, vol. i. p! 406, etc. ^ Cf. ibid. 



the source of much persecution and annoyance. No doubt the 
motives of his friends were of the highest kind, and among 
them may have been the desire to take away the ground of 
objection formerly raised by Demetrius against the pubHc 
preaching of a mere layman in the presence of a bishop. But 
they little dreamed of the storm which this act of theirs was to 
raise, and of the consequences which it was to bring upon the 
head of him whom they had sought to honour. After com- 
pleting his journey through Greece, Origen returned to Alex- 
andria about the year 230. He there found his bishop greatly 
incensed against him for what had taken place at Csesarea. 
Nor did his anger expend itself in mere objurgations and 
rebukes. In the year 231 a synod was summoned by Deme- 
trius, composed of Egyptian bishops and Alexandrian presbyters, 
who declared Origen unworthy to hold the office of teacher, 
and excommunicated him from the fellowship of the church of 
Alexandria. Even this did not satisfy the vindictive feeling 
of Demetrius. He summoned a second synod, in which the 
bishops alone were permitted to vote, and by their suffrages 
Origen was degraded from the office of presbyter, and intima- 
tion of this sentence was ordered to be made by encyclical letter 
to the various churches. The validity of the sentence was recog- 
nised by all of them, with the exception of those in Palestine, 
Phoenicia, Arabia, and Achaia, — a remarkable proof of the 
position of influence which was at that time held by the church 
of Alexandria. Origen appears to have quitted the city before 
the bursting of the storm, and betook himself to Csesarea, which 
henceforth became his home, and the seat of his future labours 
for a period of nearly a quarter of a century. The motives 
which impelled Demetrius to this treatment of Origen have 
been variously stated and variously criticised. Eusebius^ refers 
his readers for a full account of all the matters involved to the 
treatise which he and Pamphilus composed in his defence ; but 
this work has not come down to us,^ although we possess a brief 
notice of it in the Blhliotheca of Photius,^ from which we derive 
our knowledge of the proceedings of the two synods. There 

1 Hist. Eccles. b. vi. c. 22 and c. 33. 

2 With the exception of the first book ; cf. Migne, vol. ix. pp. 542-632. 

3 Cf. Photii Bibliotheca, ed. Hoeschel, p. 298. 


seems little reason to doubt that jealousy of interference on 
the part of the bishops of another diocese was one main cause 
of the resentment displayed by Demetrius ; while it is also 
possible that another alleged cause, the heterodox character of 
some of Origen's opinions, as made known in his already pub- 
lished works, among which were his Stromata and De Priiicipiis^ 
may have produced some effect upon the minds of the hostile 
bishops. Hefele^ asserts that the act of the Palestinian bishops 
was contrary to the Church law of the time, and that Demetrius 
was justified on that ground for his procedure against him. 
But it may well be doubted whether there was any generally 
understood law or practice existing at so early a period of the 
Church's history. If so, it is difficult to understand how it 
should have been unknown to the Palestinian bishops ; or, on the 
supposition of any such existing law or usage, it is equally 
difficult to conceive that either they themselves or Origen 
should have agreed to disregard it, knowing as they did the 
jealous temper of Demetrius, displayed on the occasion of 
Origen's preaching at Csesarea already referred to, and which 
had drawn from the Alexandrine bishop an indignant remon- 
strance, in which he had asserted that such an act was " quite 
unheard-of before."^ To this statement the Csesarean bishops 
had replied in a letter, in which they enumerated several in- 
stances of laymen who had addressed the congregation."* The 
probabilities, therefore, are in favour of there being no gene- 
rally understood law or practice on the subject, and that the 
procedure, therefore, was dictated by hierarchical jealousy on 
the part of Demetrius. According to Eusebius,^ indeed, the 
act of mutilation already referred to was made a ground of 
accusation against Origen ; and there seems no doubt that 
there existed an old canon of the Church,^ based upon the words 
in Deut. xxiii. 1, which rendered one who had committed such 
an act ineligible for office in the Church. But there is no trace 

^ Eusebius expressly mentions that both these works, among others, 
were published before he left Alexandria. — Hist. Eccles. b. vi. c. 24. 

2 s.v. Origenes. 

3 Hist Eccles. b. vi. c. 19. * Ibid. ^ Ibid. b. vi. c. 8. 

^ ocKpuTYipiocaocg iocvrov ^oj ysvia&a KT^ripiKo;. Cf. Redepenning, vol. i. 
pp. 208, 216, 218. 


of this act, as disqualifying Origen for the office of presbyter, 
having been urged by Demetrius, so far as can be discovered 
from the notices of the two synods which have been pre- 
served by Rufinus and Photius ; and it seems extremely probable, 
as Redepenning remarks,^ that if Demetrius were acquainted 
with this act of Origen, as Eusebius says he was/ he made no 
public mention of it, far less that he made it a pretence for his 

Demetrius did not lonff survive the execution of his ven- 


geance against his unfortunate catechist. He died about a 
year afterwards, and was succeeded by Heraclas, the friend 
and former pupil of Origen. It does not, however, appear that 
Heraclas made any effort to have the sentence against Orisjen 
recalled, so that he might return to the early seat of his labours. 
Origen devoted himself at Csesarea chiefly to exegetical studies 
upon the books of Scripture, enjoying the countenance and 
friendship of the two bishops Alexander and Theoctistus, who 
are said by Eusebius " to have attended him the whole time as 
pupils do their master." He speedily raised the theological 
school of that city to a degree of reputation which attracted 
many pupils. Among those who placed themselves under his 
instructions were two young Cappadocians, who had come to 
Caesarea with other intentions, but who were so attracted by 
the whole character and personality of Origen, that they im- 
mediately became his pupils. The former of these, afterwards 
Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop of New Csesarea, has left us, 
in the panegyric which he wrote after a discipleship of five 
years, a full and admiring account of the method of his great 

The persecution under the Emperor Maximin obliged Origen 
to take refuge in Csesarea in Cappadocia, w^here he remained 
in concealment about two years in the house of a Christian 
lady named Juliana, who w^as the heiress of Symmachus, the 
Ebionite translator of the Septuagint, and from whom he ob- 
tained several MSS. which had belonged to him. Here, also, 
he composed his Exliortation to Martyrdom, which was expressly 
written for the sake of his friends Ambrosius and Protoctetus, 
who had been imprisoned on account of their Christian pro- 

1 Cf. Redepenning, vol. i. p. 409, note 2. ^ jji^^^ Eccles. b. vi. c. 8. 



fession, but who recovered their freedom after the death of 
Maximin, — an event which allowed Origen to return to the 
Palestinian Csesarea and to the prosecution of his labours. A 
visit to Athens, where he seems to have remained some time, 
and to Bostra in Arabia, in order to bring back to the true faith 
Bishop Beryllus, who had expressed heterodox opinions upon 
the subject of the divinity of Christ, and in which attempt he 
proved successful, were the chief events of his life during the 
next five years. On the outbreak of the Decian persecution, 
however, in 249, he was imprisoned at Tyre, to which city he 
had gone from Caesarea for some unknown reason, and was 
made to suffer great cruelties by his persecutors. The effect 
of these upon a frame worn out by ascetic labours may be 
easily conceived. Although he survived his imprisonment, his 
body was so weakened by his sufferings, that he died at Tyre 
in 254, in the seventieth year of his age. 

The character of Origen is singularly pure and noble ; for 
his moral qualities are as remarkable as his intellectual gifts. 
The history of the church records the names of few whose 
patience and meekness under unmerited suffering were more 
conspicuous than his. How very differently would Jerome 
have acted under circumstances like those which led to Origen's 
banishment from Alexandria ! and what a favourable contrast 
is presented by the self-denying asceticism of his whole life, to 
the sins which stained the early years of Augustine prior to his 
conversion ! The impression which his whole personality made 
upon those who came within the sphere of his influence is 
evidenced in a remarkable degree by the admiring affection 
displayed towards him by his friend Ambrose and his pupil 
Gregory. Nor was it friends alone that he so impressed. To 
him belongs the rare honour of convincing heretics of their 
errors, and of leading them back to the church, — a result which 
must have been due as much to the gentleness and earnestness 
of his Christian character, as to the prodigious learning, mar- 
vellous acuteness, and logical power, which entitle him to be 
regarded as the greatest of the Fathers. It is singular, indeed, 
that a charge of heresy should have been brought, not only 
after his death, but even during his life, against one who ren- 
dered such eminent services to the cause of orthodox Chris- 


tianity. But this charge must be considered in reference to the 
times when he lived and wrote. No General Council' had yet 
been held to settle authoritatively the doctrine of the church 
upon any of those great questions, the discussion of which con- 
vulsed the Christian world during the two following centu- 
ries ; and in these circumstances greater latitude was naturally 
permissible than would have been justifiable at a later period. 
Moreover, a mind so speculative as that of Origen, and so 
engrossed with the deepest and most difficult problems of human 
thought, must sometimes have expressed itself in a way liable 
to be misunderstood. But no doubt the chief cause of his 
being regarded as a heretic is to be found in the haste with 
which he allowed many of his writings to be published. Had 
he considered more carefully what he intended to bring before 
the public eye, less occasion would have been furnished to 
objectors, and the memory of one of the greatest scholars and 
most devoted Christians that the world has ever seen would have 
been freed, to a great extent at least, from the reproach of heresy. 

Origen was a very voluminous author. Jerome says that he 
wrote more than any individual could read ; and Epiphanius 
{Hceres. Ixiv. 63) relates that his writings amounted to 6000 
volumes, by w^hich statement we are probably to understand 
that every individual treatise, large or small, including each of 
the numerous homilies, was counted as a separate volume. 
The admiration entertained for him by his friend Ambrosius, 
and the readiness with which the latter bore all the expenses of 
transcription and publication, led Origen to give to the world 
much which otherwise would never have seen the light. 

The works of the great Adamantinus may be classed under 
the following divisions : — 


These comprise Sx^^^^j brief notes on Scripture, of which 
only fragments remain : TofjLoi,, Commentaries, lengthened ex- 
positions, of which we possess considerable portions, including 
those on Matthew, John, and Epistle to the Komans ; and 
about 200 Homilies, upon the principal books of the Old and 
New Testaments, a full list of which may be seen in Migne's 


edition. In these works his peculiar system of interpretation 
found ample scope for exercise ; and although he carried out his 
principle of allegorizing many things, which in their historical 
and literal signification offended his exegetical sense, he never- 
theless maintains that " the passages which hold good in their 
historical acceptation are much more numerous than those 
which contain a purely spiritual meaning ; " ^ and the student 
will find much that is striking and suggestive in his remarks 
upon the various passages which he brings under review. For 
an account of his method of interpreting Scripture, and the 
grounds on which he based it, the reader may consult the fourth 
book of the treatise On the Principles, 


The great critical work of Orlgen was the Hexapla or Six- 
columned Bible, — an attempt to provide a revised text of the 
Septuagint translation of Old Testament Scripture. On this 
undertaking he is said to have spent eight-and-twenty years of 
his life, and to have acquired a knowledge of Hebrew in order 
to qualify himself for the task. Each page of this work con- 
sisted, with the exception to be noticed immediately, of six 
columns. In the first was placed the current Hebrew text ; 
in the second, the same represented in Greek letters ; in the 
third, the version of Aquila ; in the fourth, that of Symmachus; 
in the fifth, the text of the LXX., as it existed at the time ; 
and in the sixth, the version of Theodotion. Having come into 
possession also of certain other Greek translations of some of 
the books of Scripture, he added these in their appropriate 
place, so that the work presented in some parts the appearance 
of seven, eight, or nine columns, and was termed Heptapla, 
Octopla, or Enneapla, in consequence. He inserted critical 
marks in the text of the LXX., an asterisk to denote what 
ought to be added, and an obelus to denote what ought to 
be omitted ; taking the additions chiefly from the version of 
Theodotion. The work, wdth the omission of the Hebrew 
column, and that representing the Hebrew in Greek letters, 
was termed Tetrapla ; and with regard to it, it is uncertain 
^ Origen's Works, vol. i. pp. 323-4 (Ante-Nicene Library). 


whether it is to be considered a preliminary work on the part 
of Origen, undertaken by way of preparation for the larger, or 
merely as an excerpt from the latter. The whole extended, it 
is said, to nearly fifty volumes, and was, of course, far too bulky 
for common use, and too costly for transcription. It was placed 
in some repository in the city of Tyre, from which it was re- 
moved after Origen's death to the library at Csesarea, founded 
by Pamphilus, the friend of Eusebius. It is supposed to have 
been burnt at the capture of CsBsarea by the Arabs in 653 a.d. 
The column, however, containing the version of the LXX. had 
been copied by Pamphilus and Eusebius, along with the critical 
marks of Origen, although, owing to carelessness on the part 
of subsequent transcribers, the text was soon again corrupted. 
The remains of this work were published by Montfaucon at 
Paris, 1713, 2 vols, folio ; by Bahrdt at Leipsic in 1769 ; and 
is at present again in course of publication from the Clarendon 
Press, Oxford, under the editorship of Mr. Field, who has made 
use of the Syriac-Hexaplar version, and has added various 
fragments not contained in prior editions. (For a full and 
critical account of this work, the English reader is referred to 
Dr. Sam. Davidson's Biblical Criticism, vol. i. ch. xii., which 
has been made use of for the above notice.) 


His great apologetical work was the treatise undertaken at 
the special request of his friend Ambrosius, in answer to the 
attack of the heathen philosopher Celsus on the Christian 
religion, in a work which he entitled J.0709 aX7]6rj<;, or A True 
Discourse. Origen states that he had heard that there were 
two individuals of this name, both of them Epicureans, the 
earlier of the two having lived in the time of Nero, and the 
other in the time of Adrian, or later.^ Redepenning is of 
opinion that Celsus must have composed his work in the time 
of Marcus Aurelius (161-180 a.d.), on account of his supposed 
mention of the Marcionites (whose leader did not make his 
appearance at Rome before 142 a.d.), and of the Marcellians 
(followers of the Carpocratian Marcellina), a sect which was 
^ Cf. Contra Celsum, i. c. viii. ad Jin. 


founded after the year 155 a.d. under Bishop Anicetus.^ 
Origen believed his opponent to be an Epicurean, but to have 
adopted other doctrines than those of Epicurus, because he 
thought that by so doing he could assail Christianity to greater 
advantage.^ The work which Origen composed in answer to 
the so-styled True Discourse consists of eight books, and be- 
longs to the latest years of his life. It has always been regarded 
as the great apologetic work of antiquity ; and no one can 
peruse it without being struck by the multifarious reading, won- 
derful acuteness, and rare subtlety of mind which it displays. 
But the rule which Origen prescribed to himself, of not allow- 
ing a single objection of his opponent to remain unanswered, 
leads him into a minuteness of detail, and into numerous repeti- 
tions, which fatigue the reader, and detract from the interest 
and unity of the work. He himself confesses that he began it 
on one plan, and carried it out on another.^ No doubt, had 
he lived to re-write and condense it, it would have been more 
worthy of his reputation. But with all its defects, it is a great 
work, and well deserves the notice of the students of Apolo- 
getics. The table of contents prefixed to the translation will 
convey a better idea of its nature than any description which 
our limits would permit us to give. 


These include the STpcofiaTet^j a work composed in imitation 
of the treatise of Clement of the same name, and consisting 
originally of ten books, of which only three fragments exist 
in a Latin version by Jerome (Migne, vol. i. pp. 102-107) ; a 
treatise on the Eesurrection, of which four fragments remain 
(Migne, vol. i. pp. 91-100) ; and the treatise Uepl ^Ap'^wv, Be 
PrincipnSj which contains Origen' s views on the various ques- 
tions of systematic theology. The work has come down to us 
in the Latin translation of his admirer Rufinus ; but, from a 
comparison of the few fragments of the original Greek which 
have been preserved, we see that Rufinus Avas justly chargeable 

^ Cf. Eedepenning, vol. ii. p. 131, note 2. 

2 Contra Celsum, i. ch. viii. 

3 Preface, § 6 ; cf . vol. i. p. 397. 


with altering many of Origen's expressions, in order to bring 
his doctrine on certain points more into harmony with the 
orthodox views of the time. The De Principiis consists of 
four books, and is translated in the first volume of the works 
of Origen in this series, to which we refer the reader. 


Under this head we place the little treatise Uepl Ev)(rj<;, On 
Prayer^ written at the instance of his friend Ambrose, and 
which contains an exposition of the Lord's Prayer; the ^40709 
irpoTpeirTLKo^; eh fiaprvpiov^ ExJiortation to Martyrdom^ com- 
posed at the outbreak of the persecution by Maximian, when 
his friends Ambrose and Protoctetus were imprisoned. Of his 
numerous letters only two have come down entire, viz. that 
which was addressed to Julius Africanus, who had questioned 
the genuineness of the history of Susanna in the apocryphal 
additions to the book of Daniel, and that to Gregory Thauma- 
targus on the use of Greek philosophy in the explanation of 
Scripture, although, from the brevity of the latter, it is ques- 
tionable whether it is more than a fragment of the original. 
(Both of these are translated in the first volume of Origen's 
works in this series.) The ^iXoKaXla, PJiilocalia, was a com- 
pilation from the writings of Origen, intended to explain the 
difficult passages of Scripture, and executed by Basil the Great 
and Gregory of Nazianzus; large extracts of which have been 
preserved, especially of that part which w^as taken from the 
treatise against Celsus. The remains were first printed at 
Paris in 1618, and again at Cambridge in 1676, in the reprint 
of Spencer's edition of the Contra Celsum, In the Benedictine 
edition, and in Migne's reprint, the various portions are quoted 
in footnotes under the respective passages of Origen's writings. 


The first published works of Origen were his Homilies, which 
appeared in 1475, although neither the name of the publisher 
nor the place of publication is given. These were followed by 
the treatise against Celsus in the translation of Christopher 
Persana, which appeared at Rome in 1481 ; and this, again, by 


an edition of the Homilies at Venice in 1503, containing those 
on the four first books of Moses, Joshua, and Judges. The 
first collective edition of the whole works w^as given to the 
world in a Latin translation by James Merlin, and was pub- 
lished in two folio volumes, first at Paris in 1512 and 1519, 
and afterwards at Paris in 1522 and 1530. A revision of 
Merlin's edition was begun by Erasmus, and completed, after 
his" death, by Beatus Khenanus. This appeared at Basle in 
1536 in two folio volumes, and again in 1557 and 1571. A 
much better and more complete edition was undertaken by the 
Benedictine Gilbertus Genebrardus, which was published also in 
two volumes folio at Paris in 1574, and again in 1604 and 1619. 
Hoeschel published the treatise against Celsus at Augsburg in 
1605; Spencer, at Cambridge in 1658 and 1677, to which was 
added the Philocalia. which had first appeared in a Latin trans- 
lation by Genebrardus, and afterwards in Greek by Tarinus at 
Paris in 1618 and 1624, in quarto. Huet, Bishop of Avranches, 
published the exegetical writings in Greek, including the Com- 
mentaries on Matthew and John, in two volumes folio, of which 
the one appeared at Pouen in 1668, and the other at Paris in 
1679. The great edition by the two learned Benedictines of 
St. Maur — Charles de la Pue, and his nephew Vincent de la 
Pue — was published at Paris between the years 1733 and 1759. 
This is a work of immense industry and labour, and remains 
the standard to the present time. It has been reprinted by 
Migne in his series of the Greek Fathers, in nine volumes, large 
8vo. In Oberthiir's series of the Greek Fathers, seven volumes 
contain the chief portion of Origen's writings; while Lom- 
matzsch has published the whole in twenty-five small volumes, 
Berlin 1831-48, containing the Greek text alone. — [Abridged 
from Pedepenning.] 

For further information upon the life and opinions of Origen, 
the reader may consult Pedepenning's Origenes^ 2 vols., Bonn 
1841, 1846 ; the articles in Herzog's Encyclopddie and Wetzer's 
and Wette's Kirchen-Lexilion, by Kling and Hefele respectively; 
the brilliant sketch by Pressens^ in his Martyrs and Apologists 
(Harwood's translation) ; and the learned compilation of Huet, 
entitled Origeniana^ to be found in the ninth volume of Migne's 


BOOK 11. 

Chapter i. 

HE first book of our answer to the treatise of Celsus, 
entitled A True Discourse, which concluded with 
the representation of the Jew addressing Jesus, 
having now extended to a sufficient length, we in- 
tend the present part as a reply to the charges brought by him 
against those who have been converted from Judaism to Chris- 
tianity. And we call attention, in the first place, to this 
special question, viz. why Celsus, when he had once resolved 
upon the introduction of individuals upon the stage of his book, 
did not represent the Jew as addressing the converts from 
heathenism rather than those from Judaism, seeing that his 
discourse, if directed to us, w^ould have appeared more likely 
to produce an impression.-^ But probably this claimant to 
universal knowledge does not know what is appropriate in the 
matter of such representations ; and therefore let us proceed 
to consider what he has to say to the converts from Judaism. 
He asserts that " they have forsaken the law of their fathers, 
in consequence of their minds being led captive by Jesus ; 
that they have been most ridiculously deceived, and that they 
have become deserters to another name and to another mode of 
life." Here he has not observed that the Jewish converts have 
not deserted the law of their fathers, inasmuch as they live 
according to its prescriptions, receiving their very name from 
the poverty of the law, according to the literal acceptation of 
the word; for Ebion signifies ^' poor"' among the Jews,^ and 
those Jews who have received Jesus as Christ are called by the 
name of Ebionites." Nay, Peter himself seems to have observed 

^ 'Tri&ocvojTUTOg. ^ ji''3X« 



for a considerable time the Jewish observances enjoined by the 
law of Moses, not having yet learned from Jesus to ascend 
from the law that is regulated according to the letter, to that 
which is interpreted according to the spirit, — a fact which we 
learn from the Acts of the Apostles. For on the day after the 
angel of God appeared to Cornelius, suggesting to him "to 
send to Joppa, to Simon surnamed Peter," Peter "went up 
into the upper room to pray about the sixth hour. And he 
became very hungry, and would have eaten : but while they 
made ready he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and 
a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great 
sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth; 
wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts, and creeping 
things of the earth, and fowls of the air. And there came a 
voice to him, Eise, Peter ; kill, and eat. • But Peter said. Not 
so, Lord ; for I have never eaten anything that is common or 
unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second 
time. What God hath cleansed, that call thou not common." ^ 
Now observe how, by this instance, Peter is represented as still 
observing the Jewish customs respecting clean and unclean 
animals. And from the narrative that follows, it is manifest 
that he, as being yet a Jew, and living according to their tradi- 
tions, and despising those who were beyond the pale of Judaism, 
stood in need of a vision to lead him to communicate to Cor- 
nelius (who w^as not an Israelite according to the flesh), and to 
those who were with him, the word of faith. Moreover, in the 
Epistle to the Galatians, Paul states that Peter, still from fear 
of the Jews, ceased upon the arrival of James to eat with the 
Gentiles, and "separated himself from them, fearing them that 
were of the circumcision;"^ and the rest of the Jews, and 
Barnabas also, followed the same course. And certainly it 
was quite consistent that those should not abstain from the 
observance of Jewish usages who were sent to minister to the 
circumcision, when they who " seemed to be pillars" gave the 
right hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas, in order that, 
while devoting themselves to the circumcision, the latter might 
preach to the Gentiles. And why do I mention that they who 
preached to the circumcision withdrew and sepai'ated them- 
1 Cf. Acts X. 9-15. 2 cf. Gal. ii. 12. 


selves from the heathen, when even Paul himself " became as a 
Jew to the Jews, that he might gain the Jews?" Wherefore 
also in the Acts of the Apostles it is related that he even 
brought an offering to the altar, that he might satisfy the Jews 
that he was no apostate from their law.-^ Now, if Celsus had 
been acquainted with all these circumstances, he would not 
have represented the Jew holding such language as this to the 
converts from Judaism : " What induced you, my fellow- 
citizens, to abandon the law of your fathers, and to allow your 
minds to be led captive by him with whom we have just con- 
versed, and thus be most ridiculously deluded, so as to become 
deserters from us to another name, and to the practices of 
another life?" 

Chapter ii. 

Now, since we are upon the subject of Peter, and of the 
teachers of Christianity to the circumcision, I do not deem it 
out of place to quote a certain declaration of Jesus taken from 
the Gospel according to John, and to give the explanation of 
the same. For it is there related that Jesus said : " I have yet 
many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 
Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide 
you into all the truth : for He shall not speak of Himself ; but 
whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak." ^ And when 
we inquire what were the " many things" referred to in the 
passage which Jesus had to say to His disciples, but which 
they were not then able to bear, I have to observe that, pro- 
bably because the apostles were Jews, and had been trained 
up according to the letter of the Mosaic law, He was unable 
to tell them what was the true law, and how the Jewish wor- 
ship consisted in the pattern and shadow of certain heavenly 
things, and how future blessings were foreshadowed by the 
injunctions regarding meats and drinks, and festivals, and new 
moons, and sabbaths. These were many of the subjects which 
He had to explain to them ; but as He saw that it was a work 
of exceeding difficulty to root out of the mind opinions that 
have been almost born with a man, and amid which he has 
been brought up till he reached the period of maturity, and 
1 Cf. Acts xxi. 26. 2 John xvi. 12, 13. 


which have produced in those who have adopted them the 
belief that they are divine, and that it is an act of impiety to 
overthrow them ; and to demonstrate by the superiority of 
Christian doctrine, that is, by the truth, in a manner to 
convince the hearers, that such opinions were but "loss and 
dung," He postponed such a task to a future season — to that, 
namely, which followed His passion and resurrection. For the 
bringing of aid unseasonably to those who were not yet capable 
of receiving it, might have overturned the idea which they had 
already formed of Jesus, as the Christ, and the Son of the 
livincr God. And see if there is not some well-grounded 
reason for such a statement as this, " I have many things to 
say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now : " seeing there are 
many points in the law which require to be explained and 
cleared up in a spiritual sense, and these the disciples were in 
a manner unable to bear, having been born and brought up 
amongst Jews. I am of opinion, moreover, that since these 
rites were typical, and the truth was that which was to be 
taught them by the Holy Spirit, these words w^ere added, 
" When He is come who is the Spirit of truth, He will lead 
you into all the truth;" as if He had said, into all the truth 
about those things which, being to you but types, ye believed 
to constitute a true worship which ye rendered unto God. 
And so, according to the promise of Jesus, the Spirit of truth 
came to Peter, saying to him, with regard to the four-footed 
beasts, and creeping things of the earth, and fowls of the air : 
"Arise, Peter; kill, and eat." And the Spirit came to him 
while he was still in a state of superstitious ignorance ; for he 
said, in answer to the divine command, " Not so. Lord ; for I 
have never yet eaten anything common or unclean." He in- 
structed him, however, in the true and spiritual meaning of 
meats, by saying, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou 
common." And so, after that vision, the Spirit of truth, which 
conducted Peter into all the truth, told him the many things 
which he was unable to bear when Jesus was still with him in 
the flesh. But I shall have another opportunity of explaining 
those matters, which are connected with the literal acceptation 
of the Mosaic law. 


Chapter hi. 

Our present object, however, Is to expose the ignorance of 
Celsus, who makes this Jew of liis address " his fellow-citizen 
and the Israelitish converts in the following manner : " What 
induced you to abandon the law of your fathers ? " etc. Now, 
how should they have abandoned the law of their fathers, who 
are in the habit of rebuking those who do not listen to its com- 
mands, saying, ^^ Tell me, ye who read the law, do ye not hear 
the law ? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons ; " and 
so on, down to the place, " which things are an allegory," ^ etc. t 
And how have they abandoned the law of their fathers, who 
are ever speaking of the usages of their fathers in such words 
as these : ^' Or does not the law say these things also ? For 
it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the 
mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God care 
for oxen ? or saith He it altogether for our sakes ? for for our 
sakes it was written," and so on ? ^ Now, how confused is the 
reasoning of the Jew in regard to these matters (although he 
had it in his power to speak with greater effect) when he says : 
" Certain among you have abandoned the usages of our fathers 
under a pretence of explanations and allegories; and some of you, 
although, as ye pretend, interpreting them in a spiritual manner, 
nevertheless do observe the customs of our fathers ; and some of 
you, without any such interpretation, are willing to accept Jesus 
as the subject of prophecy, and to keep the law of Moses accord- 
ing to the customs of the fathers, as having in the words the 
whole mind of the Spirit." Now how was Celsus able to see 
these things so clearly in this place, when in the subsequent parts 
of his work he makes mention of certain godless heresies alto- 
gether alien from the doctrine of Jesus, and even of others which 
leave the Creator out of account altogether, and does not appear 
to know that there are Israelites who are converts to Chris- 
tianity, and who have not abandoned the law of their fathers ? 
It was not his object to investigate everything here in the spirit 
of truth, and to accept whatever he might find to be useful ; 
but he composed these statements in the spirit of an enemy, and 
with a desire to overthrow everything as soon as he heard it. 
1 Gal. iv. 21, 22. ^ i Cor. ix. 8. 


Chapter iv. 

The Jew, then, continues his address to converts from his 
own nation thus : " Yesterday and the day before, when we 
visited with punishment the man who deluded you, ye became 
apostates from the law of your fathers ; " showing by such state- 
ments (as we have just demonstrated) anything but an exact 
knowledge of the truth. But what he advances afterwards 
seems to have some force, when he says : " How is it that you 
take the beginning of your system from our worship, and when 
you have made some progress you treat it with disrespect, 
although you have no other foundation to show for your doc- 
trines than our law?" Now, certainly the introduction to 
Christianity is through the Mosaic worship and the prophetic 
writings ; and after the introduction, it is in the interpretation 
and explanation of these that progress takes place, while those 
who are introduced prosecute their investigations into "the 
mystery according to revelation, which was kept secret since 
the world began, but now is made manifest in the Scriptures 
of the prophets," ^ and by the appearance of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. But they who advance in the knowledge of Chris- 
tianity do not, as ye allege, treat the things written in the 
law with disrespect. On the contrary, they bestow upon them 
greater honour, showing what a depth of wise and mysterious 
reasons is contained in these writings, which are not fully 
comprehended by the Jews, who treat them superficially, and 
as if they were in some degree even fabulous.^ And what 
absurdity should there be in our system — that is, the gospel — 
having the law for its foundation, when even the Lord Jesus 
Himself said to those who would not believe upon Him : " If 
ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote 
of me. But if ye do not believe his writings, how shall ye believe 
my words ? " ^ Nay, even one of the evangelists — Mark — 
says: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as it 
is written in the prophet Isaiah, Behold, I send my messenger 
before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee/' * 

^ Rom. xvi. 25. 

» Jolm V. 46, 47. * Mark i. 1, 2. 


which shows that the beginning of the gospel is connected 
with the Jewish writings. What force, then, is there in the 
objection of the Jew of Celsus, that "if any one predicted 
to us that the Son of God was to visit mankind, he was one of 
our prophets, and the prophet of our God ? " Or how is it a 
charge against Christianity, that John, who baptized Jesus, was 
a Jew ? For although He was a Jew, it does not follow that 
every believer, whether a convert from heathenism or from 
Judaism, must yield a literal obedience to the law of Moses. 

Chapter v. 

After these matters, although Celsus becomes tautological in 
his statements about Jesus, repeating for the second time that 
" he was punished by the Jews for his crimes," we shall not 
again take up the defence, being satisfied with what we have 
already said. But, in the next place, as this Jew of his dis- 
parages the doctrine regarding the resurrection of the dead, and 
the divine judgment, and of the rewards to be bestowed upon 
the just, and of the fire which is to devour the wicked, as being 
stale -^ opinions, and thinks that he will overthrow Christianity 
by asserting that there is nothing new in its teaching upon 
these points, we have to say to him, that our Lord, seeing the 
conduct of the Jews not to be at all in keeping with the teaching 
of the prophets, inculcated by a parable that the kingdom of 
God would be taken from them, and given to the converts from 
heathenism. For which reason, now, we may also see of a 
truth that all the doctrines of the Jews of the present day are 
mere trifles and fables,^ since they have not the light that pro- 
ceeds from the knowledge of the Scriptures ; whereas those of 
the Christians are the truth, having power to raise and elevate 
the soul and understanding of man, and to persuade him to 
seek a citizenship, not like the earthly ^ Jews here below, but in 
heaven. And this result shows itself among those who are able 
to see the grandeur of the ideas contained in the law and the 
prophets, and who are able to commend them to others. 

Chapter vi. 
But let it be granted that Jesus observed all the Jewish 

^ 'iuT^u. 2 fAv6ovg KXi T^yjpovg. ^ roig kutu ' lovhcttoi;. 


usages, including even their sacrificial observances, what does 
that avail to prevent our recognising Him as the Son of God ? 
Jesus, then, is the Son of God, who gave the law and the pro- 
phets ; and we, who belong to the church, do not transgress the 
law, but have escaped the mythologizings ^ of the Jews, and 
have our minds chastened and educated by the mystical con- 
templation of the law and the prophets. For the prophets 
themselves, as not resting the sense of these words in the plain 
history which they relate, nor in the legal enactments taken 
according to the word and letter, express themselves somewhere, 
when about to relate histories, in words like this, " I will open 
my mouth in parables, I will utter hard sayings of old ; " ^ and 
in another place, when offering up a prayer regarding the law 
as being obscure, and needing divine help for its comprehension, 
they offer up this prayer, " Open Thou mine eyes, that I may 
behold wondrous things out of Thy law." ^ 

Chapter vii. 

Moreover, let them show where there is to be found even 
the appearance of language dictated by arrogance,^ and pro- 
ceeding from Jesus. For how could an arrogant man thus 
express himself, " Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of 
heart, and you shall find rest for your souls ? " ^ or how can 
He be styled arrogant, who after supper laid aside His garments 
in the presence of His disciples, and, after girding Himself 
with a towel, and pouring water into a basin, proceeded to wash 
the feet of each disciple, and rebuked him who was unwilling 
to allow them to bd washed, with the words, " Except I wash 
thee, thou hast no part with me ? " ^ Or how could He be 
called such who said, " I w^as amongst you, not as he that 
sitteth at meat, but as he that serveth ? " ^ And let any one 
show what were the falsehoods which He uttered, and let him 
point out what are great and what are small falsehoods, that he 
may prove Jesus to have been guilty of the former. And there 
is yet another way in which we may confute him. For as one 
falsehood is not less or more false than another, so one truth 
is not less or more true than another. And what charcres of 

^ fjivdoT^oyUg. ^ Ps. Ixxvii. 2. ^ Ps. cxix. 18. * uT^x^ousiot, 

^ Matt. xi. 29. « John xvi. 4. ' Luke xxii. 27. 


impiety he has to bring against Jesus, let the Jew of Celsus 
especially bring forward. Was it impious to abstain from cor- 
poreal circumcision, and from a literal Sabbath, and literal 
festivals, and literal new moons, and from clean and unclean 
meats, and to turn the mind to the good and true and spiritual 
law of God, while at the same time he who was an ambassador 
for Christ knew how to become to the Jews as a Jew, that he 
might gain the Jews, and to those who are under the law, as 
under the law, that he might gain those who are under the law ? 

Chapter viii. 

He says, further, that " many other persons would appear 
such as Jesus was, to those who were willing to be deceived." 
Let this Jew of Celsus then show us, not many persons, nor 
even a few, but a single individual, such as Jesus was, intro- 
ducing among the human race, with the power that was mani- 
fested in Him, a system of doctrine and opinions beneficial to 
human life, and which converts men from the practice of 
wickedness. He says, moreover, that this charge is brought 
against the Jews by the Christian converts, that they have not 
believed in Jesus as in God. Now on this point we have, in 
the preceding pages, offered a preliminary defence, showing at 
the same time in what respects we understand Him to be God, 
and in what we take Him to be man. " How should we," he 
continues, " who have made known to all men that there is to 
come from God one who is to punish the wicked, treat him with 
disregard when he came?" And to this, as an exceedingly 
silly argument, it does not seem to me reasonable to offer any 
answer. It is as if some one were to say, " How could we, who 
teach temperance, commit any act of licentiousness ? or we, 
who are ambassadors for righteousness, be guilty of any wicked- 
ness?" For as these inconsistencies are found among men, 
so, to say that they believed the prophets when speaking of the 
future advent of Christ, and yet refused their belief to Him 
when He came, agreeably to prophetic statement, was quite in 
keeping with human nature. And since we must add another 
reason, we shall remark that this very result was foretold by 
the prophets. Isaiah distinctly declares : " Hearing ye shall 
hear, and shall not understand ; and seeing ye shall see, and 


shall not perceive : for the heart of this people has become 
fat,"^ etc. And let them explain why it was predicted to the 
Jews, that although they both heard and saw, they would 
not understand what was said, nor perceive what was seen as 
they ought. For it is indeed manifest, that when they beheld 
Jesus they did not see who He was ; and when they heard Him, 
they did not understand from His w^ords the divinity that was 
in Him, and which transferred God's providential care, hitherto 
exercised over the Jews, to His converts from the heathen. 
Therefore we may see, that after the advent of Jesus the Jews 
were altogether abandoned, and possess now none of what 
were considered their ancient glories, so that there is no indi- 
cation of any Divinity abiding amongst them. For they have 
no longer prophets nor miracles, traces of which to a consider- 
able extent are still found among Christians, and some of them 
more remarkable than any that existed among the Jews ; and 
these we ourselves have witnessed, if our testimony may be 
received. But the Jew of Celsus exclaims : " Why did we 
treat him, whom we announced beforehand, with dishonour ? 
Was it that we might be chastised more than others ? " To 
which we have to answer, that on account of their unbelief, 
and the other insults which they heaped upon Jesus, the Jews 
will not only suffer more than others in that judgment which 
is believed to impend over the world, but have even already 
endured such sufferings. For what nation is an exile from 
their own metropolis, and from the place sacred to the worship 
of their fathers, save the Jews alone ? And these calamities 
they have suffered, because they were a most wicked nation, 
which, although guilty of many other sins, yet has been punished 
so severely for none, as for those that were committed against 
our Jesus. 

Chapter ix. 

The Jew continues his discourse thus : " How should we 
deem him to be a God, who not only in other respects, as was 
currently reported, performed none of his promises, but who also, 
after we had convicted him, and condemned him as deserving 
of punishment, was found attempting to conceal himself, and 

^ Isa. vi. 9. 


endeavouring to escape in a most disgraceful manner, and who 
was betrayed by those whom he called disciples ? And yet," 
he continues, " he who was a God could neither flee nor be 
led away a prisoner ; and least of all could he be deserted and 
delivered up by those who had been his associates, and had 
shared all things in common, and had had him for their teacher, 
who was deemed to be a Saviour, and a Son of the greatest 
God, and an angel." To which we reply, that even we do not 
suppose the body of Jesus, which was then an object of sight 
and perception, to have been God. And why do I say His 
body ? Nay, not even His soul, of which it is related, " My 
soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." ^ But as, accord- 
ing to the Jewish manner of speaking, "lam the Lord, the 
God of all flesh," and, " Before me there was no God formed, 
neither shall there be after me," God is believed to be He 
who employs the soul and body of the prophet as an instru- 
ment ; and as, according to the Greeks, he who says, 

" I know both the number of the sand, and the measures of the sea, 
And I understand a dumb man, and hear him who does not speak," ^ 

is considered to be a god when speaking, and making himself 
heard through the Pythian priestess ; so, according to our view, 
it was the Logos God, and Son of the God of all things, who 
spake in Jesus these words, " I am the way, and the truth, 
and the life ;" and these, " I am the door ; " and these, " I am 
the living bread that came down from heaven ;" and other 
expressions similar to these. We therefore charge the Jews 
with not acknowledging Him to be God, to whom testimony 
was borne in many passages by the prophets, to the effect that 
He was a mighty power, and a God next to^ the God and 

1 Matt. xxvi. 38. ^ Herodot. b. i. 47. 

^ Kul ©SOU zurdi rou tcou oTiuu Geou x,a,] -TTciripcc. " Ex mente Origenis, 
inquit Boherellus, vertendum ' Secundo post universi Deum atque paren- 
tem loco ;' non cum interprete Gelenio, * Ipsius rerum universarum Dei 
atque Parentis testimonio.' Nam si hie esset sensus, frustra post v'tto ratf 
'7rpo(pYiTuv^ adderetur koctx rou ©sou. Prseterea, hsec epitheta, rou rZu oXav 
©sou Koit Troirspecj manifestam continent antithesin ad ista, (^syuKnu ouru. 
ZvuocfAiu Kocl ©sou, ut Pater supra Fihum evehatur, quemadmodum evehitur 
ab Origene infra hbro octavo, num. 15. Tov, Kccrx, inferiorem ordinem 
denotantis exempla afferre supersede©, cum obvia sint." — Ku^US. 


Father of all things. For we assert that it was to Him the 
Father gave the command, when in the Mosaic account of the 
creation He uttered the words, " Let there be light," and 
" Let there be a firmament," and gave the injunctions with 
regard to those other creative acts which were performed ; and 
that to Him also were addressed the words, " Let us make 
man in our own image and likeness ;" and that the Logos, 
when commanded, obeyed all the Father's wilL And we make 
these statements not from our own conjectures, but because we 
believe the prophecies circulated among the Jews, in which it 
is said of God, and of the works of creation, in express words, 
as follows : " He spake, and they were made ; He commanded, 
and they were created."^ Now if God gave the command, and 
the creatures were formed, who, according to the view of the 
spirit of prophecy, could he be that was able to carry out such 
commands of the Father, save Him who, so to speak, is the 
living Logos and the Truth ? And that the Gospels do not 
consider him who in Jesus said these words, " I am the way, 
and the truth, and the life," to have been of so circumscribed 
a nature,^ as to have an existence nowhere out of the soul and 
body of Jesus, is evident both from many considerations, and 
from a few instances of the following kind which we shall 
quote. John the Baptist, when predicting that the Son of God 
was to appear immediately, not in that body and soul, but as 
manifesting Himself everywhere, says regarding Him : " There 
stands in the midst of you One whom ye know not, who cometh 
after me." ^ For if he had thought that the Son of God was 
only there, where was the visible body of Jesus, how could he 
have said, " There stands in the midst of you One whom ye 
know not?" And Jesus Himself, in raising the minds of His 
disciples to higher thoughts of the Son of God, says : " Where 
two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in 
the midst of you."* And of the same nature is His promise to 
His disciples : " Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end 
of the world." ^ And we quote these passages, making no dis- 
tinction between the Son of God and Jesus. For the soul and 
body of Jesus formed, after the olKovofila, one being with the 

^ Ps. cxlviii. 5. ^ 'Tnpiysypxf/.fiiyo'j rtuot. ^ John i. 26. 

* Matt, xviii. 20. ^ Matt, xxviii. 20. 


Logos of God. Now if, according to Paul's teaching, " he 
that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit," ^ every one who 
understands what being joined to the Lord is, and who has been 
actually joined to Him, is one spirit with the Lord ; how should 
not that being be one in a far greater and more divine degree, 
which was once united with the Logos of God ? ^ He, indeed, 
manifested Himself among the Jews as the power of God, by 
the miracles which He performed, which Celsus suspected were 
accomplished by sorcery, but which by the Jews of that time 
were attributed, I know not why, to Beelzebub, in the words : 
" He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, the prince of the 
devils." ^ But these our Saviour convicted of uttering the 
greatest absurdities, from the fact that the kingdom of evil was 
not yet come to an end. And this will be evident to all intelli- 
gent readers of the Gospel narrative, which it is not now the 
time to explain. 

Chapter x. 

But what promise did Jesus make which He did not per- 
form ? Let Celsus produce any instance of such, and make 
good his charge. But he will be unable to do so, especially 
since it is from mistakes, arising either from misapprehension 
of the Gospel narratives, or from Jewish stories, that he 
thinks to derive the charges which he brings against Jesus or 
against ourselves. Moreover, again, when the Jew says, " We 
both found him guilty, and condemned him as deserving of 
death," let them show how they who sought to concoct false 
witness against Him proved Him to be guilty. Was not the 
great charge against Jesus, which His accusers brought for- 
ward, this, that He said, " I am able to destroy the temple of 
God, and after three days to raise it up again?"* But in so 
saying, He spake of the temple of His body ; while they thought, 
not being able to understand the meaning of the speaker, that 

1 1 Cor. vi. 16. 

^ si yxp KXTo. r'/i'j Ylxv^ov ^i^otfTKotTiixu, T^iyouTOg' " o xoTvA&i^syof ru Kvpia, 

h iari 'Kviv^a. ivpog rou Kvptow 'Trug ov 'TtoTJ^M [auT^'Kov htoripag xoci f^si^ot/ag 
h kari ro ttots avvhrov Trpog rov T^oyov rou ©so'v ; 
3 Matt. xii. 24. * Matt. xxyi. 61. 


His reference was to the temple of stone, whicli was treated by 
the Jews with greater respect than He was who ought to have 
been honoured as the true Temple of God — the Word, and the 
Wisdom, and the Truth. And who can say that " Jesus 
attempted to make His escape by disgracefully concealing 
Himself ? " Let any one point to an act deserving to be called 
disgraceful. And when he adds, " he was taken prisoner," 
I would say that, if to be taken prisoner implies an act done 
against one's will, then Jesus was not taken prisoner ; for at 
the fitting time He did not prevent Himself falling into the 
hands of men, as the Lamb of God, that He might take away 
the sin of the world. For, knowing all things that were to 
come upon Him, He went forth, and said to them, " Whom 
seek ye? " and they answered, " Jesus of Nazareth ;" and He 
said unto them, " I am He." And Judas also, who betrayed 
Him, was standing with them. Whei), therefore, He had said 
to them, "I am He," they went backwards and fell to the 
ground. Again He asked them, '' Whom seek ye ? " and they 
said again, " Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, " I told 
you I am He ; if then ye seek me, let these go away." ^ Nay, 
even to him who wished to help Him, and who smote the high 
priest's servant, and cut off his ear. He said : '•'' Put up thy 
sword into its sheath : for all they who draw the sword shall 
perish by the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot even now 
pray to my Father, and He will presently give me more than 
twelve legions of angels ? But how then should the Scriptures 
be fulfilled, that thus it must be ? " ^ And if any one imagines 
these statements to be inventions of the writers of the Gospels, 
why should not those statements rather be regarded as inven- 
tions which proceeded from a spirit of hatred and hostility 
against Jesus and the Christians ? and these the truth, which 
proceed from those who manifest the sincerity of their feelings 
towards Jesus, by enduring everything, whatever it may be, for 
the sake of His words ? For the reception by the disciples of 
such power of endurance and resolution continued even to death, 
with a disposition of mind that would not invent regarding their 
Teacher what was not true, is a very evident proof to all candid 
judges that they were fully persuaded of the truth of what they 
1 Jolin xviii. 4 sqq. * Matt. xxvi. 52-54. 



wrote, seeing they submitted to trials so numerous and so severe 
for the sake of Him whom they believed to be the Son of God. 

Chapter xi. 

In the next place, that He was betrayed by those whom He 
called His disciples, is a circumstance which the Jew of Celsus 
learned from the Gospels ; calling the one Judas, however, 
" many disciples," that he might seem to add force to the accu- 
sation. Nor did he trouble himself to take note of all that is 
related concerning Judas; how this Judas, having come to 
entertain opposite and conflicting opinions regarding his Master, 
neither opposed Him with his whole soul, nor yet with his 
whole soul preserved the respect due by a pupil to his teacher. 
For he that betrayed Him gave to the multitude that came to 
apprehend Jesus, a sign, saying, " Whomsoever I shall kiss, it 
is he ; seize ye him," — retaining still some element of respect for 
his Master : for unless he had done so, he would have betrayed 
Him, even publicly, without any pretence of affection. This 
circumstance, therefore, will satisfy all with regard to the pur- 
pose of Judas, that along with his covetous disposition, and his 
wicked design to betray his Master, he had still a feeling of a 
mixed character in his mind, produced in him by the words of 
Jesus, which had the appearance (so to speak) of some remnant 
of good. For it is related that, " when Judas, who betrayed 
Him, knew that He was condemned, he repented, and brought 
back the thirty pieces of silver to the high priest and elders, 
saying, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent 
blood. But they said, What is that to us? see thou to that;" ^ 
— and that, having thrown the money down in the temple, he 
departed, and went and hanged himself. But if this covetous 
Judas, who also stole the money placed in the bag for the relief 
of the poor, repented, and brought back the thirty pieces of 
silver to the chief priests and elders, it is clear that the instruc- 
tions of Jesus had been able to produce some feeling of repent- 
ance in his mind, and were not altogether despised and loathed 
by this traitor. . Nay, the declaration, " I have sinned, in that 
I have betrayed the innocent blood," was a pubhc acknowledg- 
ment of his crime. Observe, also, how exceedingly passionate^ 
^ Matt, xxvii. 3-5. 2 ^fi^^npog x,x\ aCpo^pa. 


was the sorrow for lils sins that proceeded from that repentance, 
and which would not suffer him any longer to live ; and how, 
after he had cast the money down in the temple, he withdrew, 
and went away and hanged himself : for he passed sentence upon 
himself, showing what a power the teaching of Jesus had over 
this sinner Judas, this thief and traitor, who could not always 
treat with contempt what he had learned from Jesus. Will 
Celsus and his friends now say that those proofs which show 
that the apostasy of Judas was not a complete apostasy, even 
after his attempts against his Master, are inventions, and that 
this alone is true, viz. that one of His disciples betrayed Him ; 
and will they add to the scriptural account that he betrayed 
Him also with his whole heart ? To act in this spirit of hostility 
with the same writings, both as to what we are to believe and 
what we are not to believe, is absurd.-^ And if we must make 
a statement regarding Judas which may overwhelm our oppo- 
nents with shame, we would say that, in the book of Psalms, 
the whole of the 108th contains a prophecy about Judas, the 
beginning of which is this : " O God, hold not Thy peace be- 
fore my praise ; for the mouth of the sinner, and the mouth of 
the crafty man, are opened against me." ^ And it is predicted 
in this psalm, both that Judas separated himself from the num- 
ber of the apostles on account of his sins, and that another was 
selected in his place ; and this is shown by the words : " And 
his bishopric let another take."^ But suppose now that He 
had been betrayed by some one of His disciples, who was 
possessed by a worse spirit than Judas, and who had completely 
poured out, as it were, all the words which he had heard from 
Jesus, what would this contribute to an accusation against 
Jesus or the Christian religion? And how will this demon- 
strate its doctrine to be false ? We have replied in the preced- 
ing chapter to the statements which follow this, showing that 
Jesus was not taken prisoner when attempting to flee, but that 
He gave Himself up voluntarily for the sake of us all. Whence 
it follows, that even if He were bound. He was bound agree- 
ably to His own will ; thus teaching us the lesson that we should 
undertake similar things for the sake of religion in no spirit of 

^ d'Tri&ccuov. 2 ps^ cix. 1, 2. 3 Ps. cix. 8. 


Chapter xii. 

And the following appear to me to be childish assertions, viz. 
that " no good general and leader of great multitudes was ever 
betrayed ; nor even a wicked captain of robbers and commander 
of very wicked men, who seemed to be of any use to his asso- 
ciates ; but Jesus, having been betrayed by his subordinates, 
neither governed like a good general, nor, after deceiving his 
disciples, produced in the minds of the victims of his deceit 
that feeling of good-will which, so to speak, would be mani- 
fested towards a brigand chief." Now one might find many 
accounts of generals who were betrayed by their own soldiers, 
and of robber chiefs who were captured through the instru- 
mentality of those who did not keep their bargains with them. 
But grant that no general or robber chief was ever betrayed, 
what does that contribute to the establishment of the fact as a 
charge against Jesus, that one of His disciples became His be- 
trayer % And since Celsus makes an ostentatious exhibition of 
philosophy, I would ask of him. If, then, it was a charge against 
Plato, that Aristotle, after being his pupil for twenty years, 
went away and assailed his doctrine of the immortality of the 
soul, and styled the ideas of Plato the merest trifling?^ And 
if I were still in doubt, I would continue thus : Was Plato no 
longer mighty in dialectics, nor able to defend his views, after 
Aristotle had taken his departure ; and, on that account, are the 
opinions of Plato false ? Or may it not be, that while Plato 
is true, as the pupils of his philosophy would maintain, Aristotle 
was guilty of wickedness and ingratitude towards his teacher ? 
Nay, Chrysippus also, in many places of his writings, appears 
to assail Cleanthes, introducing novel opinions opposed to his 
views, although the latter had been his teacher when he was a 
young man, and began the study of philosophy. Aristotle, 
indeed, is said to have been Plato's pupil for twenty years, and 
no inconsiderable period was spent by Chrysippus in the school 
of Cleanthes ; while Judas did not remain so much as three 
years with Jesus. But from the narratives of the lives of 
philosophers we might take many instances similar to those on 
which Celsus founds a charge against Jesus on account of 

^ rspsria/xxrx. 


Judas. Even the Pythagoreans erected cenotaphs^ to those 
whoj after betaking themselves to philosophy, fell back again 
into their ignorant mode of life ; and yet neither was Pythagoras 
nor his followers, on that account, weak in argument and de- 

Chapter xiii. 

This Jew of Celsus continues, after the above, in the follow- 
ing fashion : " Although he could state many things regarding 
the events of the life of Jesus which are true, and not like those 
which are recorded by the disciples, he willingly omits them." 
What, then, are those true statements, unlike the accounts in 
the Gospels, which the Jew of Celsus passes by without men- 
tion ? Or is he only employing what appears to be a figure of 
speech,^ in pretending to have something to say, while in reality 
he had nothing to produce beyond the Gospel narrative which 
could impress the hearer with a feeling of its truth, and furnish 
a clear ground of accusation against Jesus and His doctrine ? 
And he charges the disciples with having invented the state- 
ment that Jesus foreknew and foretold all that happened to 
Him; but the truth of this statement we shall establish, although 
Celsus may not like it, by means of many other predictions 
uttered by the Saviour, in which He foretold what would befall 
the Christians in after generations. And who is there who 
would not be astonished at this prediction : " Ye shall be 
brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testi- 
mony against them and the Gentiles ;"^ and at any others which 
He may have delivered respecting the future persecution of His 
disciples? For what system of opinions ever existed among 
men on account of which others are punished, so that any 
one of the accusers of Jesus could say that, foreseeing the 
impiety or falsity of his opinions to be the ground of an accu- 
sation against them, he thought that this would redound to his 
credit, that he had so predicted regarding it long before ? Now 
if any deserve to be brought, on account of their opinions, 
before governors and kings, what others are tliey, save the 
Epicureans, who altogether deny the existence of providence ? 

^ Cf. Clem. Alex. Strom, v. c. ix. 

^ loKOva*] ^siuorviri priropiKYi. S J^fatt. X. 18. 


And also the Peripatetics, who say that prayers are of no 
avail, and sacrifices offered as to the Divinity? But some one 
will say that the Samaritans suffer persecution because of their 
religion. In answer to whom we shall state that the Sicarians,'^ 
on account of the practice of circumcision, as mutilating them- 
selves contrary to the established laws and the customs per- 
mitted to the Jews alone, are put to death. And you never 
hear a judge inquiring whether a Sicarian who strives to live 
according to this established religion of his will be released 
from punishment if he apostatizes, but will be led away to 
death if he continues firm; for the evidence of the circum- 
cision is sufficient to ensure the death of him who has under- 
gone it. But Christians alone, according to the prediction of 
their Saviour, " Ye shall be brought before governors and kings 
for my sake," are urged up to their last breath by their judges 
to deny Christianity, and to sacrifice according to the public 
customs ; and after the oath of abjuration, to return to their 
homes, and to live in safety. And observe whether it is not 
with great authority that this declaration is uttered : " Whoso- 
ever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess 
also before my Father who is in heaven. And whosoever shall 
deny me before men," ^ etc. And go back with me in thought 
to Jesus when He uttered these words, and see His predictions 
not yet accomplished. Perhaps you will say, in a spirit of 
incredulity, that he is talking folly, and speaking to no purpose, 
for his words will have no fulfilment ; or, being in doubt about 
assenting to his words, you will say, that if these predictions 
be fulfilled, and the doctrine of Jesus be established, so that 
governors and kings think of destroying those who acknowledge 
Jesus, then we shall believe that he utters these prophecies as 
one who has received great power from God to implant this doc- 
trine among the human race, and as believing that it will prevail. 
And who will not be filled with wonder, when he goes back in 
thought to Him who then taught and said, " This gospel shall 
be preached throughout the whole world, for a testimony against 

1 Modestinus, lib. vi. Regularum^ ad legem Comeliam de Sicariis: " Cir- 
cumcidere filios suos Judseis tantum rescripto divi Pii permittitur : in non 
ejusdem religionis qui hoc fecerit, castrantis poena irrogatur." 

2 Matt. X. 18. 


them and the Gentiles," and beholds, agreeably to His words, 
the gospel of Jesus Christ preached in the whole world under 
heaven to Greeks and barbarians, wise and foolish alike ? For 
the word, spoken with power, has gained the mastery over men 
of all sorts of nature, and it is impossible to see any race of 
men which has escaped accepting the teaching of Jesus. But 
let this Jew of Celsus, who does not believe that He foreknew 
all that happened to Him, consider how, while Jerusalem was 
still standing, and the whole Jewish worship celebrated in it, 
Jesus foretold what would befall it from the hand of the 
Romans. For they will not maintain that the acquaintances 
and pupils of Jesus Himself handed down His teaching con- 
tained in the Gospels without committing it to writing, and 
left His disciples without the memoirs of Jesus contained in 
their works. Now in these it is recorded, that " when ye shall 
see Jerusalem compassed about with armies, then shall ye know 
that the desolation thereof is nigh." ^ But at that time there 
were no armies around Jerusalem, encompassing and enclosing 
and besieging it ; for the siege began in the reign of Nero, 
and lasted till the government of Vespasian, whose son Titus 
destroyed Jerusalem, on account, as Josephus says, of James 
the Just, the brother of Jesus who was called Christ, but in 
reality, as the truth makes clear, on account of Jesus Christ 
the Son of God. 

Chapter xiv. 

Celsus, however, accepting or granting that Jesus foreknew 
what would befall Him, might think to make light of the ad- 
mission, as he did in the case of the miracles, when he alleged 
that they were wrought by means of sorcery ; for he might say 
that many persons by means of divination, either by auspices, 
or auguries, or sacrifices, or nativities, have come to the know- 
ledge of what was to happen. But this concession he would 
not make, as being too great a one ; and although he somehow 
granted that Jesus worked miracles, he thought to weaken the 
force of this by the charge of sorcery. Now Phlegon, in the 
thirteenth or fourteenth book, I think, of his Chronicles, not 
only ascribed to Jesus a knowledge of future events (although 
^ Matt. xxiv. 14. 


falling into confusion about some things which refer to Peter, 
as if they referred to Jesus), but also testified that the result 
corresponded to Plis predictions. So that he also, by these 
very admissions regarding foreknowledge, as if against his 
will, expressed his opinion that the doctrines taught by the 
fathers of our system were not devoid of divine power. 

Chapter xv. 

Celsus continues : ^' The disciples of Jesus, having no un- 
doubted fact on which to rely, devised the fiction that he 
foreknew everything before it happened;" not observing, or 
not wishing to observe, the love of truth which actuated the 
writers, who acknowledged that Jesus had told His disciples 
beforehand, " All ye shall be offended because of me this 
night," — a statement which was fulfilled by their all being 
offended ; and that He predicted to Peter, " Before the cock 
crow, thou shalt deny me thrice," which was followed by 
Peter's threefold denial. Now if they had not been lovers of 
truth, but, as Celsus supposes, inventors of fictions, they would 
not have represented Peter as denying, nor His disciples as 
being offended. For although these events actually happened, 
who could have proved that they turned out in that manner ? 
And yet, according to all probability, these were matters which 
ought to have been passed over in silence by men who wished 
to teach the readers of the Gospels to despise death for the sake 
of confessing Christianity. But now, seeing that the word, by 
its power, will gain the mastery over men, they related those 
facts which they have done, and which, I know not how, were 
neither to do any harm to their readers, nor to afford any pre- 
text for denial. 

Chapter xvi. 

Exceedingly weak is his assertion, that "the disciples of 
Jesus wrote such accounts regarding him, by way of extenuat- 
ing the charges that told against him : as if," he says, " any 
one were to say that a certain person was a just man, and yet 
were to show that he was guilty of injustice ; or that he was 
pious, and yet had committed murder; or that he was im- 
mortal, and yet was dead ; subjoining to all these statements 


the remark that he had foretold all these things.". Now his 
illustrations are at once seen to be inappropriate ; for there is 
no absurdity in Him who had resolved that He would become 
a living pattern to men, as to the manner in which they were 
to regulate their lives, showing also how they ought to die for 
the sake of their religion, apart altogether from the fact that His 
death on behalf of men was a benefit to the whole world, as we 
proved in the preceding book. He imagines, moreover, that 
the whole of the confession of the Saviour's sufferings confirms 
his objection instead of weakening it. For he is not acquainted 
either with the philosophical remarks of Paul,^ or the state- 
ments of the prophets, on this subject. And it escaped him 
that certain heretics have declared that Jesus underwent His 
sufferings in appearance, not in reality. For had he known, 
he would not have said : " For jq do not even allege this, that 
he seemed to wicked men to suffer this punishment, though 
not undergoing it in reality ; but, on the contrary, ye acknow- 
ledge that he openly suffered." But we do not view His suf- 
ferings as having been merely in appearance, in order that His 
resurrection also may not be a false, but a real event. For he 
who really died, actually arose, if he did arise ; whereas he 
who appeared only to have died, did not in reality arise. But 
since the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a subject of mockery 
to unbelievers, we shall quote the words of Plato,^ that Herus 
the son of Armenius rose from the funeral pile twelve days 
after he had been laid upon it, and gave an account of what 
he had seen in Hades ; and as we are replying to unbelievers, 
it will not be altogether useless to refer in this place to what 
Heraclides ^ relates respecting the woman who was deprived of 
life. And many persons are recorded to have risen from their 
tombs, not only on the day of their burial, but also on the day 
following. What wonder is it, then, if in the case of one who 
performed many marvellous things, both beyond the power of 
man and with such fulness of evidence, that he who could not 
deny their performance, endeavoured to calumniate them by 
comparing them to acts of sorcery, should have manifested also 
in His death some greater display of divine power, so that His 

2 Cf. Plato, de Rep. x. ^ Cf. PUn. Nat. Hist. vii. c. 62. 


soul, if it pleased, might leave its body, and having performed 
certain offices out of it, might return again at pleasure 1 And 
such a declaration is Jesus said to have made in the Gospel of 
John, when He said : " No man taketh my life from me, but 
I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I 
have power to take it again." ^ And perhaps it was on this 
account that He hastened His departure from the body, that 
He might preserve it, and that His legs might not be broken, 
as were those of the robbers who w^ere crucified with Him. 
" For the soldiers broke the legs of the first, and of the other 
who was crucified with Him ; but when they came to Jesus, 
and saw that He was dead, they brake not His legs." ^ "We 
have accordingly answered the question, " How is it credible 
that Jesus could have predicted these things?" And with 
respect to this, "How could the dead man be immortal?" 
let him who wishes to understand know, that it is not the 
dead man who is immortal, but He who rose from the dead. 
Sq far, indeed, was the dead man from being immortal, that 
even the Jesus before His decease — the compound being, who 
was to suffer death — was not immortal.^ For no one is im- 
mortal who is destined to die; but he is immortal when he 
shall no longer be subject lo death. But " Christ, being raised 
from the dead, dieth no more : death hath no more dominion 
over Him;"* although those may be unwilling to admit this 
who cannot understand how such things should be said. 

Chapter xvii. 

Extremely foolish also is his remark, " What God, or spirit, 
or prudent man would not, on foreseeing that such events were 
to befall him, avoid them if he could ; whereas he threw him- 
self headlong into those things which he knew beforehand were 
to happen ? " And yet Socrates knew that he would die after 
drinking the hemlock, and it was in his power, if he had 
allowed himself to be persuaded by Crito, by escaping from 
prison, to avoid these calamities ; but nevertheless he decided, 

1 John X. 18. 2 John xix. 52. 

^ Ov ^ovou ovu ov)c vsjcpog udotuxrog, ci\7C ovl' 6 Trpo Tov vjxpov 'Iriaovg 6 
evudiTog d^avuTOg tju^ og ys efii'h'hs rsduTjB.sadoti. 
* Eom. vi. 9. 


as it appeared to him consistent with right reason, that it was 
better for him to die as became a philosopher, than to retain liis 
life in a manner unbecoming one. Leonidas also, the Lace- 
demonian general, knowing that he was on the point of dying 
with his followers at Thermopylge, did not make any effort 
to preserve his life by disgraceful means, but said to his com- 
panions, " Let us go to breakfast, as we shall sup in Hades." 
And those who are interested in collecting stories of this kind, 
will find numbers of them. Now, where is the wonder if 
Jesus, knowing all things that were to happen, did not avoid 
them, but encountered what He foreknew ; when Paul, His 
own disciple, having heard what would befall him when he 
went up to Jerusalem, proceeded to face the danger, reproach- 
ing those who w^ere weeping around him, and endeavouring to 
prevent him from going up to Jerusalem ? Many also of our 
contemporaries, knowing well that if they made a confession 
of Christianity they would be put to death, but that if they 
denied it they would be liberated, and their property restored, 
despised life, and voluntarily selected death for the sake of 
their religion. 

Chapter xviii. 

After this the Jew makes another silly remark, saying, 
"How is it that, if Jesus pointed out beforehand both the 
traitor and the perjurer, they did not fear him as a God, and 
cease, the one from his intended treason, and the other from 
his perjury ? " Here the learned Celsus did not see the con- 
tradiction in his statement : for if Jesus foreknew events as a 
God, then it was impossible for His foreknowledge to prove 
untrue ; and therefore it was impossible for him who was 
known to Him as going to betray Him not to execute his 
purpose, nor for him who was rebuked as going to deny Him 
not to have been guilty of that crime. For if it had been 
possible for the one to abstain from the act of betrayal, and 
the other from that of denial, as having been w^arned of the 
consequences of these actions beforehand, then His words were 
no longer true, who predicted that the one would betray Him 
and the other deny Him. For if He had foreknowledge of 
the traitor, He knew the wickedness in which the treason 


originated, and this wickedness was by no means taken awav 
by the foreknowledge. And, again, if He had ascertained 
that one would deny Him, He made that prediction from 
seeing the weakness out of which that act of denial would 
arise, and yet this weakness was not to be taken away thus 
at once^ by the foreknowledge. But whence he derived the 
statement, " that these persons betrayed and denied him with- 
out manifesting any concern about him," I know not ; for it 
was proved, wdth respect to the traitor, that it is false to say 
that he betrayed his master without an exhibition of anxiety 
regarding Him. And this was shown to be equally true of 
him who denied Him ; for he went out, after the denial, and 
wept bitterly. 

Chapter xix. 
Superficial also is his objection, that " it is always the case 
when a man against whom a plot is formed, and who comes 
to the knowledge of it, makes known to the conspirators that 
he is acquainted with their design, that the latter are turned 
from their purpose, and keep upon their guard." For many 
have continued to plot even against those who were acquainted 
with their plans. And then, as if bringing his argument to a 
conclusion, he says : " Not because these things were predicted 
did they come to pass, for that is impossible ; but since they 
have come to pass, their being predicted is shown to be a 
falsehood : for it is altogether impossible that those who heard 
beforehand of the discovery of their designs, should carry out 
their plans of betrayal and denial ! " But if his premisses are 
overthrown, then his conclusion also falls to the ground, viz. 
" that we are not to believe, because these things w^ere predicted, 
that they have come to pass." Now we maintain that they not 
only came to pass as being possible, but also that, because they 
came to pass, the fact of their being predicted is shown to be 
true ; for the truth regarding future events is judged of by 
results. It is false, therefore, as asserted by him, that the pre- 
diction of these events is proved to be untrue ; and it is to no 
purpose that he says, " It is altogether impossible for those who 
heard beforehand that their designs were discovered, to carry 
out their plans of betrayal and denial." 


Chapter xx. 
Let us see how he continues after this : " These events," he 
says, " he predicted as being a God, and the prediction must 
by all means come to pass. God, therefore, who above all 
others ought to do good to men, and especially to those of 
his own household, led on his own disciples and prophets, 
with whom he was in the habit of eating and drinking, to 
such a degree of wickedness, that they became impious and 
unholy men. Now, of a truth, he who shared a man's table 
would not be guilty of conspiring against him ; but after ban- 
queting with God, he became a conspirator. And, what is still 
more absurd, God himself plotted against the members of his 
own table, by converting them into traitors and villains ! " 
Now, since you wish me to answer even those charges of 
Celsus which seem to me frivolous,-^ the following is our 
reply to such statements. Celsus imagines that an event, pre- 
dicted through foreknowledge, comes to pass because it was 
predicted ; but we do not grant this, maintaining that he who 
foretold it was not the cause of its happening, because he fore- 
told it would happen ; but the future event itself, which would 
have taken place though not predicted, afforded the occasion to 
him, who was endowed with foreknowledge, of foretelling its 
occurrence. Now, certainly this result is present to the fore- 
knowledge of him who predicts an event, when it is possible 
that it may or may not happen, viz. that one or other of these 
things will take place. For we do not assert that he who fore- 
knows an event, by secretly taking away the possibility of its 
happening or not, makes any such declaration as this : ^' This 
shall infallibly happen, and it is impossible that it can be other- 
wise." And this remark applies to all the foreknowledge of 
events dependent upon ourselves, whether contained in the 
sacred Scriptures or in the histories of the Greeks. Now, what 
is called by logicians an ^' idle argument," ^ which is a sophism, 
will be no sophism as far as Celsus can help, but according to 
sound reasoning it is a sophism. And that this may be seen, I 
shall take from the Scriptures the predictions regarding Judas, 
or the foreknowledge of our Saviour regarding him as the 
traitor ; and from the Greek histories the oracle that was given 

^ tiirihiai. ' • ^ oipy6<; T^oyog. 


to Laius, conceding for the present its truth, since it does 
not affect the argument. Now, in Ps. cix., Judas is spoken 
of by the mouth of the Saviour, in words beginning thus : 
*' Hold not Thy peace, O God of my praise ; for the mouth of 
the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against 
me." Now, if you carefully observe the contents of the psalm, 
you will find that, as it was foreknown that he would betray the 
Saviour, so also was he considered to be himself the cause of 
the betrayal, and deserving, on account of his wickedness, of the 
imprecations contained in the prophecy. For let him suffer 
these things, ^' because," says the psalmist, " he remembered 
not to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man." 
Wherefore it was possible for him to show mercy, and not to 
persecute him whom he did persecute. But although he might 
have done these things, he did not do them, but carried out the 
act of treason, so as to merit the curses pronounced against him 
in the prophecy. 

And in answer to the Greeks we shall quote the following 
oracular response to Laius, as recorded by the tragic ■ poet, 
either in the exact words of the oracle or in equivalent terms. 
Future events are thus made known to him by the oracle : 
"Do not try to beget children against the will of the gods. 
For if you beget a son, your son shall murder you ; and all your 
household shall wade in blood." -^ Now from this it is clear 
that it was within the power of Laius not to try to beget chil- 
dren, for the oracle would not have commanded an impossi- 
bility ; and it was also in his power to do the opposite, so that 
neither of these courses was compulsory. And the consequence 
of his not guarding against the begetting of children was, that 
he suffered from so doing the calamities described in the 
tragedies relating to CEdipus and Jocasta and their sons. 
Now that which is called the " idle argument," being a quibble, 
is such as might be applied, say in the case of a sick man, with 
the view of sophistically preventing him from employing a 
physician to promote his recovery ; and it is something like 
this ; " If it is decreed that you should recover from your 
disease, you will recover whether you call in a physician or 
not ; but if it is decreed that you should not recover, you will 
^ Euripid. PJicenissse, 18-20. 


not recover whether you call in a physician or no. But it 
is certainly decreed either that you should recover, or that 
you should not recover ; and therefore it is in vain that you 
call in a physician." Now with this argument the following 
may be wittily compared: "If it is decreed that you should 
beget children, you will beget them, whether you have inter- 
course with a woman or not. But if it is decreed that you 
should not beget children, you will not do so, whether you have 
intercourse with a woman or no. Now, certainly, it is decreed 
either that you should beget children or not ; therefore it is in 
vain that you have intercourse with a woman." For, as in the 
latter instance, intercourse with a w^oman is not employed in 
vain, seeing it is an utter impossibility for him who does not 
use it to beget children ; so, in the former, if recovery from 
disease is to be accomplished by means of the healing art, of 
necessity the physician is summoned, and it is therefore false 
to say that " in vain do you call in a physician." We have 
brought forward all these illustrations on account of the asser- 
tion of this learned Celsus, that "being a God he predicted 
these things, and the predictions must hi/ all means come to 
pass." Now, if by " % all meajis " he means " necessarily,^^ we 
cannot admit this. For it w^as quite possible, also, that they 
might not come to pass. But if he uses " hy all means " in the 
sense of " simple futurity" ^ which nothing hinders from being 
true (although it was possible that they might not happen), he 
does not at all touch my argument ; nor did it follow, from 
Jesus having predicted the acts of the traitor or the perjurer, 
that it was the same thing with His being the cause of such 
impious and unholy proceedings. For He who was amongst 
us, and knew what was in man, seeing his evil disposition, and 
foreseeing what he would attempt from his spirit of covetous- 
ness, and from his want of stable ideas of duty towards his 
Master, along with many other declarations, gave utterance to 
this also : " He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the 
same shall betray me."^ 

Chapter xxi. 

Observe also the superficiality and manifest falsity of such 
^ dvTi roif sffTUi. ^ Matt. xxvi. 23. 

Book ii.] OlilGEN AGAINST CELSUS. 29 

a statement of Celsus, when he asserts " that he who was par- 
taker of a man's table would not conspire against him ; and if 
he would not conspire against a man, much less would he plot 
against a God after banqueting wuth him." For who does not 
know that many persons, after partaking of the salt on the 
table,^ have entered into a conspiracy against their entertainers? 
The whole of Greek and barbarian history is full of such in- 
stances. And the Iambic poet of Paros,^ when upbraiding 
Lycambes with having violated covenants confirmed by the salt 
of the table, says to him : 

" But thou hast broken a mighty oath — that, viz., by the salt of the table." 
And they who are interested in historical learning, and who 
give themselves wholly to it, to the neglect of other branches 
of knowledge more necessary for the conduct of life,^ can quote 
numerous instances, showing that they who shared in the hos- 
pitality of others entered into conspiracies against them. 

Chapter xxii. 

He adds to this, as if he had brouojht tof>:ether an arsu- 
ment with conclusive demonstrations and consequences, the 
following : " And, which is still more absurd, God himself 
conspired against those who sat at his table, by converting 
them into traitors and impious men." But how Jesus could 
either conspire or convert His disciples into traitors or impiqus 
men, it would be impossible for him to prove, save by means of 
such a deduction as any one could refute with the greatest ease. 

Chapter xxiii. 

He continues in this strain : " If he had determined upon 
these things, and underwent chastisement in obedience to his- 
Father, it is manifest that, being a God, and submitting volun- 
tarily, those things that were done agreeably to his own deci- 
sion were neither painful nor distressing." But he did not 
observe that here he was at once contradicting himself. For 
if he granted that He was chastised because He had deter- 
mined upon these things, and had submitted Himself to His 
Father, it is clear that He actually suffered punishment, and it 

^ u'hcjv Koci rpoCTri^yig. ^ Archilochus. 

^ Guietus would expunge these words as " inept." 


was impossible that what was inflicted on Him by His chastisers 
should not be painful, because pain is an involuntary thing. 
But if, because He was willing to suffer, His inflictions were 
neither painful nor distressing, how did He grant that " He was 
chastised ? " He did not perceive that when Jesus had once, 
by His birth, assumed a body, He assumed one which was 
capable both of suffering pains, and those distresses incidental to 
humanity, if we are to understand by distresses what no one 
voluntarily chooses. Since, therefore. He voluntarily assumed 
a body, not wholly of a different nature from that of human 
flesh, so along with His body He assumed also its sufferings and 
distresses, which it was not in His power to avoid enduring, it 
being in the power of those who inflicted them to send upon 
Him things distressing and painful. And in the preceding 
pages we have already shown, that He would not have come into 
the hands of men had He not so willed. But He did come, 
because He was willing to come, and because it was manifest 
beforehand that His dying upon behalf of men would be of 
advantage to the whole human race. 

Chapter xxiv. 

After this, wishing to prove that the occurrences which befell 
Him were painful and distressing, and that it was impossible for 
Him, had He wished, to render them otherwise, he proceeds : 
" Why does he mourn, and lament, and pray to escape the fear 
of death, expressing himself in terms like these : ' O Father, if 
it be possible, let this cup pass from me ? ' " ^ Now in these 
words observe the malignity of Celsus, how not accepting the 
love of truth which' actuates the writers of the Gospels (who 
might have passed over in silence those points which, as Celsus 
thinks, are censurable, but who did not omit them for many 
reasons, which any one, in expounding the Gospel, can give in 
their proper place), he brings an accusation against the Gospel 
statement, grossly exaggerating the facts, and quoting what is 
not written in the Gospels, seeing it is nowhere found that 
Jesus lamented. And he changes the words in the expression, 
'' Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me," and does 
not give what follows immediately after, which manifests at 
1 Matt. xxvi. 39. 


once the ready obedience of Jesus to His Father, and His 
greatness of mind, and which runs thus : ^^ Nevertheless, not as 
I will, but as Thou wilt." ^ Nay, even the cheerful obedience 
of Jesus to the will of His Father in those things which He 
was condemned to suffer, exhibited in the declaration, '' If this 
cup cannot pass from me except I drink it. Thy will be done," 
he pretends not to have observed, acting here like those wicked 
individuals who listen to the Holy Scriptures in a malignant 
spirit, and " who talk wickedness with lofty head." For they 
appear to have heard the declaration, " I kill," ^ and they often 
make it to us a subject of reproach ; but the words, " I will 
make alive," they do not remember, — the whole sentence show- 
ing that those who live amid public wickedness, and who work 
wickedly, are put to death by God, and that a better life is 
infused into them instead, even one' which God will give to 
those who have died to sin. And so also these men have heard 
the words, " I will smite ; " but they do not see these, " and I 
will heal," which are like the words of a physician, who cuts 
bodies asunder, and inflicts severe wounds, in order to extract 
from them substances that are injurious and prejudicial to 
health, and who does not terminate his work with pains and 
lacerations, but by his treatment restores the body to that state 
of soundness which he has in view. Moreover, they have not 
heard the whole of the announcement, " For He maketh sore, 
and again bindeth up ; " but only this part, " He maketh sore." 
So in like manner acts this Jew of Celsus, who quotes the 
words, " O Father, would that this cup might pass from me ;" 
but who does not add what follows, and which exhibits the 
firmness of Jesus, and His preparedness for suffering. But 
these matters, which afford great room for explanation from 
the wisdom of God, and which may reasonably be pondered 
over ^ by those whom Paul calls ^^ perfect" when he said, " We 
speak wisdom among them who are perfect," * we pass by for 
the present, and shall speak for a little of those matters which 
are useful for our present purpose. 

1 Matt. xxvi. 39. 2 x)eut. xxxii. 39. 

^ x,ix,i rxvroi Be, croAA'^jj; 'ix,ovrcc "hr/iyviaiv d'Tro aQ(pi»s Qsov otg 6 UuvT^og 
uvofioids reTiSioig iv7\.6ycig '7rccpxOo^r,(royAuYiu. 
4 1 Cor. ii. 6. 



Chapter xxv. 

We have mentioned in the preceding pages that there are 
some of the declarations of Jesus which refer to that Being in 
Him which was the " first-born of every creature," such as, " I 
am the way, and the truth, and the life," and such hke ; and 
others, again, which belong to that in Him which is understood 
to be man, such as, ^^ But now ye seek to kill me, a man that 
hath told you the truth which I have heard of the Father." ^ 
And here, accordingly, he describes the element of weakness 
belonging to human flesh, and that of readiness of spirit which 
existed in His humanity: the element of weakness in the 
expression, " Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me ;" 
the readiness of the spirit in this, " Nevertheless, not as I w^ill, 
but as Thou wilt." And' since it is proper to observe the order 
of our quotations, observe that, in the first place, there is men- 
tioned only the single instance, as one would say, indicating the 
weakness of the flesh ; and afterwards those other instances, 
greater in number, manifesting the willingness of the spirit. 
For the expression, " Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass 
from me," is only one : whereas more numerous are those others, 
viz., " Not as I will, but as Thou wilt ;" and, " O my Father, if 
this cup cannot pass from me except I drink it. Thy will be 
done." It is to be noted also, that the words are not, " let this 
cup depart from me ; " but that the whole expression is marked 
by a tone of piety and reverence, " Father, if it be possible, let 
this cup pass from me." I know, indeed, that there is another 
explanation of this passage to the following effect : — The 
Saviour, foreseeing the sufferings which the Jewish people and 
the city of Jerusalem were to undergo in requital of the wicked 
deeds which the Jews had dared to perpetrate upon Him, from 
no other motive than that of the purest philanthropy towards 
them, and from a desire that they might escape the impending 
calamities, gave utterance to the prayer, " Father, if it be pos- 
sible, let this cup pass from me." It is as if He had said, " Because 
of my drinking this cup of punishment, the whole nation will 
be forsaken by Thee, I pray, if it be possible, that this cup may 
pass from me, in order that Thy portion, which was guilty of 
^ John viii. 40. 


such crimes against me, may not be altogether deserted by 
Tliee." But if, as Celsus would allege, " nothing at that time 
was done to Jesus which was either painful or distressing," how 
could men afterwards quote the example of Jesus as enduring 
sufferings for the sake of religion, if He did not suffer what are 
human sufferings, but only had the appearance of so doing ? 

Chapter xxvi. 

This Jew of Celsus still accuses the disciples of Jesus of 
having invented these statements, saying to them : " Even 
although guilty of falsehood, ye have not been able to give a 
colour of credibility to your inventions." In answer to which we 
have to say, that there was an easy method of concealing these 
occurrences, — that, viz., of not recording them at all. For if 
the Gospels had not contained the accounts of these things, 
who could have reproached us with Jesus having spoken such 
w^ords during His stay upon the earth ? Celsus, indeed, did not 
see that it was an inconsistency for the same persons both to be 
deceived regarding Jesus, believing Him to be God, and the 
subject of prophecy, and to invent fictions about Him, knowing 
manifestly that these statements were false. Of a truth, there- 
fore, they were not guilty of inventing untruths, but such were 
their real impressions, and they recorded them truly ; or else 
they were guilty of falsifying the histories, and did not enter- 
tain these views, and were not deceived when they acknow- 
ledf^ed Him to be God. 


Chapter xxvii. 

After this he says, that certain of the Christian believers, 
like persons who in a fit of drunkenness lay violent hands upon 
themselves, have corrupted the Gospel from its original inte- 
grity, to a threefold, and fourfold, and many-fold degree, and 
have remodelled it, so that they might be able to answer objec- 
tions. Now I know of no others who have altered the Gospel, 
save the followers of Marcion, and those of Valentinus, and, I 
think, also those of Lucian. But such an allegation is no 
charge against the Christian system, but against those who 
dared so to trifle with the Gospels. And as it is no ground 
of accusation against philosophy, that there exist Sophists, or 


84 OlilGEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book ii. 

Epicureans, or Peripatetics, or any others, whoever tliey may 
be, who hold false opinions ; so neither is it against genuine 
Christianity that there are some who corrupt the Gospel his- 
tories, and who introduce heresies opposed to the meaning of 
the doctrine of Jesus. 

Chapter xxviii. 

And since this Jew of Celsus makes it a subject of reproach 
that Christians should make use of the prophets, who predicted 
the events of Christ's life, we have to say, in addition to what 
we have already advanced upon this head, that it became him 
to spare individuals, as he says, and to expound the prophecies 
themselves ; and after admitting the probability of the Chris- 
tian interpretation of them, to show how the use which they 
make of them may be overturned.^ For in this way he would 
not appear hastily to assume so important a position on small 
grounds, and particularly when he asserts that the " prophe- 
cies agree with ten thousand other things more credibly than 
with Jesus." And he ought to have carefully met this power- 
ful argument of the Christians, as being the strongest which 
they adduce, and to have demonstrated with regard to each 
particular prophecy, that it can apply to other events with 
greater probability than to Jesus. He did not, however, per- 
ceive that this was a plausible argument to be advanced against 
the Christians only by one who was an opponent of the pro- 
phetic writings ; but Celsus has here put in the mouth of a 
Jew an objection which a Jew would not have made. For a 
Jew will not admit that the prophecies may be applied to 
countless other things with greater probability than to Jesus ; 
but he will endeavour, after giving what appears to him the 
meaning of each, to oppose the Christian interpretation, not 
indeed by any means adducing convincing reasons, but only 
attempting to do so. 

^ The original here is probably corrupt : "Or; Ixp^y uvrou (Zg (pnatv) 
(pet^of^svou dvQpu'Trav ctvroi; SKdeadoct roig -Trpo^YiTSiois, kxI avvxyopevGccuT» roug 
Trt^oiuoTYiaiv uvrau, rviv (pxiuof^iuYju uvruu dvocrpoTTViv rvjg •)(,priaiag ruv 'Trpo- 
(p^riKuu lyJiffdut. For (psilof^iuQv Boherellus would read KnlofisuQUf and 

T'^lt IfeCtUOf&iuiflV UVTU duci,TpOT7JU. 


Chapter xxix. 

In the preceding pages we have already spoken of this 
point, viz. the prediction that there were to be two advents of 
Christ to the human race, so that it is not necessary for us to 
reply to the objection, supposed to be urged by a Jew, that 
" the prophets declare the coming one to be a mighty poten- 
tate, Lord of all nations and armies." But it is in the spirit of 
a Jew, I think, and in keeping with their bitter animosity, and 
baseless and even improbable calumnies against Jesus, that 
he adds : " Nor did the prophets predict such a pestilence." ^ 
For neither Jews, nor Celsus, nor any other, can bring any 
argument to prove that a pestilence converts men from the 
practice of evil to a life which is according to nature, and dis- 
tinguished by temperance and other virtues. 

Chapter xxx. 

This objection also is cast in our teeth by Celsus : " From 
such signs and misinterpretations, and from proofs so mean, 
no one could prove him to be God, and the Son of God." Now 
it was his duty to enumerate the alleged misinterpretations, 
and to prove them to be such, and to show by reasoning the 
meanness of the evidence, in order that the Christian, if any 
of his objections should seem to be plausible, might be able to 
answer and confute his arguments. What he said, however, 
regarding Jesus, did indeed come to pass, because He was a 
mighty potentate, although Celsus refuses to see that it so hap- 
■ pened, notwithstanding that the clearest evidence proves it true 
of Jesus. " For as the sun," he says, " which enlightens all 
other objects, first makes himself visible, so ought the Son of 
God to have done." We would say in reply, that so He did ; 
for righteousness has arisen in His days, and there is abundance 
of peace, which took its commencement at His birth, God pre- 
paring the nations for His teaching, that they might be under 
one prince, the king of the Romans, and that it might not, 
owing to the want of union among the nations, caused by the 
existence of many kingdoms, be more difficult for the apostles 
of Jesus to accompHsh the task enjoined upon them by their 


Master, when He said, " Go and teach all nations." Moreover it 
is certain that Jesus was born in the reign of Augustus, who, so 
to speak, fused together into one monarchy the many popula- 
tions of the earth. Now the existence of many kingdoms 
would have been a hindrance to the spread of the doctrine of 
Jesus throughout the entire world ; not only for the reasons 
mentioned, but also on account of the necessity of men every- 
w^here engaging in war, and fighting on behalf of their native 
country, which was the case before the times of Augustus, and 
in periods still more remote, when necessity arose, as when the 
Peloponnesians and Athenians warred against each other, and 
other nations in like manner. How, then, was it possible for 
the gospel doctrine of peace, which does not permit men to 
take vengeance even upon enemies, to prevail throughout the 
world, unless at the advent of Jesus a milder spirit had been 
everywhere introduced into the conduct of things ? 

Chapter xxxi. 

He next charges the Christians with being " guilty of sophis- 
tical reasoning, in saying that the Son of God is the Logos 
Himself." And he thinks that he strengthens the accusation, 
because " when we declare the Logos to be the Son of God, 
we do not present to view a pure and holy Logos, but a 
most degraded man, Vi'ho was punished by scourging and cruci- 
fixion." Now, on this head we have briefly replied to the 
charges of Celsus in the preceding pages, where Christ was 
shown to be the first-born of all creation, who assumed a body 
and a human soul ; and that God gave commandment respect- 
ing the creation of such mighty things in the world, and they 
were created; and that He who received the command was 
God the Logos. And seeing it is a Jew who makes these 
statements in the work of Celsus, it will not be out of place to 
quote the declaration, "He sent His word, and healed them, and 
delivered them from their destruction," ^— a passage of which 
we spoke a little ago. Now, although I have conferred with 
many Jews who professed to be learned men, I never heard 
any one expressing his approval of the statement that the Logos 
is the Son of God, as Celsus declares they do, in putting into 

1 Ps. cvi. 20. 


tlie moutli of the Jew such a declaration as this : " If your 
Logos is the Son of God, we also give our assent to the same." 

Chapter xxxii. 

We have already shown that Jesus can be regarded neither 
as an arrogant man, nor a sorcerer; and therefore it is un- 
necessary to repeat our former arguments, lest, in replying to 
the tautologies of Celsus, we ourselves should be guilty of need- 
less repetition. And now, in finding fault with our Lord's 
genealogy, there are certain points which occasion some diffi- 
culty even to Christians, and which, owing to the discrepancy 
between the genealogies, are advanced by some as arguments 
against their correctness, but which Celsus has not even men- 
tioned. For Celsus, who is truly a braggart, and who professes 
to be acquainted with all matters relating to Christianity, does 
not know how to raise doubts in a skilful manner against the 
credibility of Scripture. But he asserts that the " framers of 
the genealogies, from a feeling of pride, made Jesus to be de- 
scended from the first man, and from the kings of the Jews." 
And he thinks that he makes a notable charge when he adds, 
that " the carpenter's wife could not have been ignorant of the 
fact, had she been of such illustrious descent." But what has 
this to do with the question ? Granted that she was not 
ignorant of her descent, how does that affect the result ? Sup- 
pose that she luere ignorant, how could her ignorance prove 
tliat she was not descended from the first man, or could not 
derive her origin from the Jewish kings ? Does Celsus imagine 
that the poor must always be descended from ancestors who 
are poor, or that kings are always born of kings? But it 
appears folly to waste time upon such an argument as this, 
seeing it is well known that, even in our own days, some who 
are poorer than Mary are descended from ancestors of wealth 
and distinction, and that rulers of nations and kings have 
sprung from persons of no reputation. 

Chapter xxxiii. 

" But," continues Celsus, " what great deeds did Jesus per- 
form as being a God ? Did he put his enemies to shame, or 
bring to a ridiculous conclusion what was designed against 


him?" Now to this question, although we are able to show 
the striking and miraculous character of the events which be- 
fell Him, yet from what other source can we furnish an answer 
than from the Gospel narratives, which state that " there was 
an earthquake, and that the rocks were split asunder, and the 
tombs opened, and the veil of the temple rent in twain from 
top to bottom, and that darkness prevailed in the day-time, the 
sun faihng to give light ?"■'• But if Celsus believe the Gospel 
accounts when he thinks that he can find in them matter of 
charge against the Christians, and refuse to believe them when 
they establish the divinity of Jesus, our answer to him is : *^ Sir,^ 
either disbelieve all the Gospel narratives, and then no longer 
imagine that you can found charges upon them ; or, in yielding 
your belief to their statements, look in admiration on the Logos 
of God, who became incarnate, and who desired to confer 
benefits upon the whole human race. And this feature 
evinces the nobility of the work of Jesus, that, down to the 
present time, those whom God wills are healed by His name. 
And with, regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, 
in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and 
the great earthquakes which then took place, Phlegon too, I 
think, has written in the thirteenth or fourteenth book of his 
Chronicles." 3 

Chapter xxxiv. 

This Jew of Celsus, ridiculing Jesus, as he imagines, is 
described as being acquainted with the Bacchae of Euripides, 
in which Dionysus says : 

" The divinity himself wiU Uberate me whenever I wish."* 

Now the Jews are not much acquainted with Greek literature ; 
but suppose that there was a Jew so well versed in it [as to 
make such a quotation on his part appropriate], how [does it 
follow] that Jesus could not liberate Himself, because He did 
not do so ? For let him believe from our own Scriptures that 

1 Of. Matt, xxvii. 51, 52 ; cf. Luke xxiii. 44, 45. 

^ a oiiTog. 

3 On Phlegon, cf. note in Migne, pp. 823, 854. 

* Eurip. Bacchas, v. 498 (ed. Dindorf). 


Peter obtained his freedom after having been bound in prison, 
an angel having loosed his chains ; and that Paul, having been 
bound in the stocks along with Silas in Philippi of Macedonia, 
was liberated by divine power, when the gates of the prison 
were opened. But it is probable that Celsus treats these ac- 
counts with ridicule, or that he never read them ; for he would 
probably say in reply, that there are certain sorcerers who are 
able by incantations to unloose chains and to open doors, so that 
he would liken the events related in our histories to the doings 
of sorcerers. " But," he continues, " no calamity happened 
even to him who condemned him, as there did to Pentheus, 
viz. madness or discerption."^ And yet he does not know 
that it was not so much Pilate that condemned Him (who knew 
that " for envy the Jews had delivered Him "), as the Jewish 
nation, which has been condemned by God, and rent in pieces, 
and dispersed over the whole earth, in a degree far beyond 
what happened to Pentheus. Moreover, why did he inten- 
tionally omit what is related of Pilate's wife, who beheld a 
vision, and who was so moved by it as to send a message to her 
husband, saying ; " Have thou nothing to do with that just 
man ; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream be- 
cause of him?"^ And again, passing by in silence the proofs 
of the divinity of Jesus, Celsus endeavours to cast reproach 
upon Him from the narratives in the Gospel, referring to those 
who mocked Jesus, and put on Him the purple robe, and the 
crown of thorns, and placed the reed in His hand. From what 
source now, Celsus, did you derive these statements, save from 
the Gospel narratives ? And did you, accordingly, see that they 
were fit matters for reproach, while they who recorded them 
did not think that you, and such as you, would turn them into 
ridicule ; but that others would receive from them an example 
how to despise those who ridiculed and mocked Him on account of 
His religion, who appropriately laid down His life for its sake ? 
Admire rather their love of truth, and that of the Being who 
bore these things voluntarily for the sake of men, and who 
endured them with all constancy and long-suffering. For it is 
not recorded that He uttered any lamentation, or that after His 
condemnation He either did or uttered anything unbecoming. 
^ Cf. Euseb. Hist. Eccles, h. ii. c. vii. ^ Matt, xxvii. 19. 


Chapter xxxv. 

But in answer to this objection, " If not before, yet why 
now, at least, does he not give some manifestation of his 
divinity, and free himself from this reproach, and take ven- 
geance upon those who insult both him and his Father ? " 
We have to reply, that it would be the same thing as if we 
were to say to those among the Greeks who accept the doctrine 
of providence, and who believe in portents, Why does God not 
punish those who insult the Divinity, and subvert the doctrine 
of providence ? For as the Greeks would answer such objec- 
tions, so would we, in the same, or a more effective manner. 
There was not only a portent from heaven — the eclipse of the 
sun — but also the other miracles, which show that the crucified 
One possessed something that was divine, and greater than was 
possessed by the majority of men. 

Chapter xxxvi. 

Celsus next says : ^' What is the nature of the ichor in the 
body of the crucified Jesus ? Is it ' such as flows in the bodies 
of the immortal gods ? '" ^ He puts this question in a spirit 
of mockery ; but we shall show from the serious narratives of 
the Gospels, although Celsus may not like it, that it was no 
mythic and Homeric ichor which flowed from the body of 
Jesus, but that, after His death, " one of the soldiers with a 
spear pierced His side, and there came thereout blood and 
water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true, 
and he knoweth that he saith the truth." ^ Now, in other dead 
bodies the blood congeals, and pure water does not flow forth ; 
but the miraculous feature in the case of the dead body of 
Jesus was, that around the dead body blood and water flowed 
forth from the side. But if this Celsus, who, in order to find 
matter of accusation against Jesus and the Christians, extracts 
from the Gospel even passages which are incorrectly inter- 
preted, but passes over in silence the evidences of the divinity 
of Jesus, would listen to divine portents, let him read the 
Gospel, and see that even the centurion, and they who with 
him kept watch over Jesus^^^pu-semiig the earthquake, and the 
1 Cf. Iliad, vi. 340. /<^>>-^-x^^ C^- J^^" ^i^- 3^, 35. 


events that occurred, were greatly afraid, saying, " This man 
was the son of God." ^ 

Chapter xxxvii. 

After this, he who extracts from the Gospel narrative those 
statements on which he thinks he can found an accusation, 
makes the vinegar and the gall a subject of reproach to Jesus, 
saying that " he rushed with open mouth ^ to drink of them, 
and could not endure his thirst as any ordinary man frequently 
endures it." Now this matter admits of an explanation of a 
peculiar and figurative kind ; but on the present occasion, the 
statement that the prophets predicted this very incident may be 
accepted as the more common answer to the objection. For in 
the sixty-ninth Psalm there is written, with reference to Christ : 
"And they gave me gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave 
me vinegar to drink." ^ Now, let the Jews say who it is that 
the prophetic writing represents as uttering these words ; and 
let them adduce from history one who received gall for his food, 
and to whom vinegar was given as drink. Would they venture 
to assert that the Christ whom they expect still to come might 
be placed in such circumstances ? Then we would say, What 
prevents the prediction from having been already accomplished? 
For this very prediction was uttered many ages before, and is 
sufficient, along with the other prophetic utterances, to lead him 
who fairly examines the whole matter to the conclusion that 
Jesus is He who was prophesied of as Christ, and as the Son of 

Chapter xxxviii. 

The Jew next remarks : " You, O sincere believers,'* find 
fault with us, because we do not recognise this individual as 
God, nor agree wuth you that he endured these [sufferings] 
for the benefit of mankind, in order that we also might despise 
punishment." Now, in answer to this, we say that we blame 
the Jews, who have been brought up under the training of the 
law and the prophets (which foretell the coming of Christ), 
because they neither refute the arguments which we lay before 
them to prove that He is the Messiah,^ adducing such refuta- 

1 Cf. Matt, xxvii. 54. * x'^uoou. 

3 Ps. Ixix. 21. * a rnriarorcirot. * to;/ XpiaTOV, 


tion as a defence of their unbelief ; nor yet, while not offering 
any refutation, do they believe in Him who was the subject of 
prophecy, and who clearly manifested through His disciples, even 
after the period of His appearance in the flesh, that He under- 
went these things for the benefit of mankind; having, as the 
object of His first advent, not to condemn men and their actions^ 
before He had instructed them, and pointed out to them their 
duty,^ nor to chastise the wicked and save the good, but to dis- 
seminate His doctrine in an extraordinary ^ manner, and with 
the evidence of divine power, among the whole human race, as 
the prophets also have represented these things. And we blame 
them, moreover, because they did not believe in Him who gave 
evidence of the power that was in Him, but asserted that He 
cast out demons from the souls of men through Beelzebub the 
prince of the demons ; and we blame them because they slander 
the philanthropic character of Him, who overlooked not only 
no city, but not even a single village in Judea, that He might 
everywhere announce the kingdom of God, accusing Him of 
leading the wandering life of a vagabond, and passing an anxious 
existence in a disgraceful body. But there is no disgrace in 
enduring such labours for the benefit of all those who may be 
able to understand Him. 

Chapter xxxix. 

And how can the following assertion of this Jew of Celsus 
appear anything else than a manifest falsehood, viz. that Jesus 
" having gained over no one during his life, not even his own 
disciples, underwent these punishments and sufferings ? " For 
from what other source sprang the envy which was aroused 
against Him by the Jewish high priests, and elders, and scribes, 
save from the fact that multitudes obeyed and followed Him, 
and were led into the deserts not only by the persuasive * lan- 
guage of Him whose words were always appropriate to His 
hearers, but who also by His miracles made an impression on 
those who were not moved to belief by His words ? And is it 
not a manifest falsehood to say that "he did not gain over even 
his own disciples," who exhibited, indeed, at that time some 

^ T« oivSpa'Travt ^ y^ccpTvpuaQui Trspl rau 7rpu)crsav. 

* vetpulo^ag. * TVig run T^oyuv uvrov d.KoKov&iotg. 


symptoms of human weakness arising from cowardly fear — for 
they had not yet been disciplined to the exhibition of full 
courage — but who by no means abandoned the judgments 
which they had formed regarding Him as the Christ? For 
Peter, after his denial, perceiving to what a depth of wicked- 
ness he had fallen, " went out and wept bitterly ;" while the 
others, although stricken with dismay on account of what had 
happened to Jesus (for they still continued to admire Him), 
had, by His glorious appearance,-^ their belief more firmly 
established than before that He was the Son of God. 

Chapter xl. 

It is, moreover, in a very unphilosophical spirit that Celsus 
imagines our Lord's pre-eminence among men to consist, not 
in the preaching of salvation and in a pure morality, but in 
acting contrary to the character of that personality which He had 
taken upon Him, and in not dying, although He had assumed 
mortality ; or, if dying, yet at least not such a death as might 
serve as a pattern to those who were to learn by that very act 
how to die for the sake of religion, and to comport themselves 
boldly through its help, before those who hold erroneous views 
on the subject of religion and irreligion, and who regard religious 
men as altogether irreligious, but imagine those to be most reli- 
gious who err regarding God, and who apply to everything rather 
than to God the ineradicable ^ idea of Him [which is implanted 
in the human mind], and especially when they eagerly rush to 
destroy those who have yielded themselves up with their whole 
soul (even unto death), to the clear evidence of one God who is 
over all things. 

Chapter xlt. 

In the person of the Jew, Celsus continues to find fault 
with Jesus, alleging that " he did not show himself to be pure 
from all evil." Let Celsus state from what " evil " our Lord 
did not show Himself to be pure. If he means that He was 
not pure from what is properly termed " evil," let him clearly 
prove the existence of any wicked work in Him. But if he 
deems poverty and the cross to be evils, and conspiracy on the 
part of wicked men, then it is clear that he would say that evil 


had happened also to Socrates, who was unable to show himself 
pure from evils. And how great also the other band of poor 
men is among the Greeks, who have given themselves to 
philosophical pursuits, and have voluntarily accepted a life of 
poverty, is known to many among the Greeks from what is re- 
corded of Democritus, who allowed his property to become 
pasture for sheep ; and of Crates, who obtained liis freedom by 
bestowing upon the Thebans the price received for the sale of 
his possessions. Nay, even Diogenes himself, from excessive 
poverty, came to live in a tub ; and yet, in the opinion of no 
one possessed of moderate understanding, was Diogenes on 
that account considered to be in an evil (sinfal) condition. 

Chapter xlii. 

But further, since Celsus will have it that " Jesus was not 
irreproachable," let him instance any one of those who adhere 
to His doctrine, who has recorded anything that could truly 
furnish ground of reproach against Jesus ; or if it be not from 
these that he derives his matter of accusation against Him, let 
him say from what quarter he has learned that which has in- 
duced him to say that He is not free from reproach. Jesu?, 
however, performed all that He promised to do, and by which 
He conferred benefits upon His adherents. And we, continu- 
ally seeing fulfilled all that was predicted by Him before it 
happened, viz. that this gospel of His should be preached 
throughout the whole world, and that His disciples should go 
among all nations and announce His doctrine ; and, moreover, 
that they should be brought before governors and kings on no 
other account than because of His teaching; w^e are lost in 
wonder at Him, and have our faith in Him daily confirmed. 
And I know not by what greater or more convincing proofs 
Celsus would have Plim confirm His predictions ; unless, in- 
deed, as seems to be the case, not understanding that the Logos 
had become the man Jesus, he would have Him to be subject 
to no human w^eakness, nor to become an illustrious pattern to 
men of the manner in which they ought to bear the calamities 
of life, although these appear to Celsus to be most lamentable 
and disgraceful occurrences, seeing that he regards labour ^ to 


be the greatest of evils, and pleasure the perfect good, — a view 
accepted by none of those philosophers who admit the doctrine 
of providence, and who allow that courage, and fortitude, and 
magnanimity are virtues. Jesus,' therefore, by His sufferings 
cast no discredit upon the faith of which He was the object ; 
but rather confirmed the same among those who would approve 
of manly courage, and among those who were taught by Him 
that what was truly and properly the happy life was not here 
below, but was to be found in that which was called, according 
to His own words, the "coming world;" whereas in what is 
called the '' present world " life is a calamity, or at least the 
first and greatest struggle of the soul.^ 

Chapter xliii. 

Celsus next addresses to us the followincr remark : " You 
will not, I suppose, say of him, that, after failing to gain over 
those who were in this world, he went to Hades to gain over 
those who were there." But whether he like it or not, we 
assert that not only while Jesus was in the body did He win 
over not a few persons merely, but so great a number, that a 
conspiracy was formed against Him on account of the multi- 
tude of His followers ; but also, that when He became a soul, 
without the covering of the body, He dwelt among those souls 
which were without bodily covering, converting such of them 
as were willing to Himself, or those whom He saw, for reasons 
known to Him alone, to be better adapted to such a course. 

Chapter xliv. 

Celsus in the next place says, with indescribable silliness : 
" If, after inventing defences which are absurd, and by which 
ye were ridiculously deluded, ye imagine that you really make 
a good defence, what prevents you from regarding those other 
individuals who have been condemned, and have died a miser- 
able death, as greater and more divine messengers of heaven 
[than Jesus]?" Now, that manifestly and clearly there is no 
similarity between Jesus, who suffered what is described, and 
those who have died a wretched death on account of their 
sorcery, or whatever else be the charge against them, is patent 


to every one. For no one can point to any acts of a sorcerer 
which turned away souls from the practice of the many sins 
which prevail among men, and from the flood of wickedness 
(in the world) .-^ But since tliis Jew of Celsus compares Him 
to robbers, and says that " any similarly shameless fellow 
might be able to say regarding even a robber and murderer 
whom punishment had overtaken, that such an one was not a 
robber, but a god, because he predicted to his fellow-robbers 
that he would suffer such punishment as he actually did suffer," 
it might, in the first place, be answered, that it is not because 
He predicted that He would suffer such things that we enter- 
tain those opinions regarding Jesus which lead us to have con- 
fidence in Him, as one who has come down to us from God. 
And, in the second place, we assert that this very comparison^ 
has been somehow foretold in the Gospels; since God was 
numbered with the transgressors by wicked men, who desired 
rather a " murderer" (one who for sedition and murder had 
been cast into prison) to be released unto them, and Jesus to be 
crucified, and who crucified Him between two robbers. Jesus, 
indeed, is ever crucified with robbers among His genuine dis- 
ciples and witnesses to the truth, and suffers the same condem- 
nation which they do among men. And we say, that if those 
persons have any resemblance to robbers, who on account of 
their piety towards God suffer all kinds of injury and death, 
that they may keep it pure and unstained, according to the 
teaching of Jesus, then it is clear also that Jesus, the author 
of such teaching, is with good reason compared by Celsus to the 
captain of a band of robbers. But neither was He who died 
for the common good of mankind, nor they who suffered 
because of their religion, and alone of all men were persecuted 
because of what appeared to them the right way of honouring 
God, put to death in accordance with justice, nor was Jesus 
persecuted without the charge of impiety being incurred by His 

Chapter xly. 
But observe the superficial nature of his argument respect- 
ing the former disciples of Jesus, in which he says : " In the 
next place, those who were his associates while alive, and who 


listened to his voice, and enjoyed his instructions as their 
teacher, on seeing him subjected to punishment and death, 
neither died with him, nor for him, nor were even induced to 
regard punishment with contempt, but denied even that they 
were his disciples, whereas now ye die along with him." 
And here he believes the sin which was committed by the dis- 
ciples while they were yet beginners and imperfect, and which 
is recorded in the Gospels, to have been actually committed, 
in order that he may have matter of accusation against the 
gospel ; but their upright conduct after their transgression, 
when they behaved Avith courage before the Jews, and suffered 
countless cruelties at their hands, and at last suffered death for 
the doctrine of Jesus, he passes by in silence. For he would 
neither hear the words of Jesus, when He predicted to Peter, 
^' When thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands," ^ 
etc., to which the Scripture adds, " This spake He, signifying 
by what death he should glorify God ;" nor how James the 
brother of John — an apostle, the brother of an apostle — was 
slain with the sword by Herod for the doctrine of Christ ; nor 
even the many instances of boldness displayed by Peter and 
the other apostles because of the gospel, and ^' how they went 
forth from the presence of the Sanhedrim after being scourged, 
rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for 
His name," ^ and so surpassing many of the instances related 
by the Greeks of the fortitude and courage of their philo- 
sophers. From the very beginning, then, this was inculcated 
as a precept of Jesus among His hearers, which taught men 
to despise the life which is eagerly sought after by the multi- 
tude, but to be earnest in living the life which resembles that 
of God. 

Chapter xlvi. 

But how can this Jew of Celsus escape the charge of false- 
hood, when he says that Jesus, " when on earth, gained over to 
himself only ten sailors and tax-gatherers of the most worthless 
character, and not even the whole of these ? " Now it is cer- 
tain that the Jews themselves would admit that He drew over 
not ten persons merely, nor a hundred, nor a thousand, but 
1 Jolin xxi. 18. 2 ^cts r. 41. 


on one occasion five thousand at once, and on another four 
thousand ; and that He attracted them to such a degree that 
they followed Him even into the deserts, which alone could 
contain the assembled multitude of those who believed in God 
through Jesus, and where He not only addressed to them dis- 
courses, but also manifested to them His works. And now, 
through his tautology, he compels us also to be tautological, 
since we are careful to guard against being supposed to pass 
over any of the charges advanced by him ; and therefore, in 
reference to the matter before us, following the order of his 
treatise as we have it, he says : ^' Is it not the height of absur- 
dity to maintain, that if, while he himself was alive, he won 
over not a single person to his views, after his death any who 
wish are able to gain over such a multitude of individuals?" 
Whereas he ought to have said, in consistency with truth, that 
if, after His death, not simply those wdio will, but they who 
have the will and the power, can gain over so many proselytes, 
how much more consonant to reason is it, that while He was 
alive He should, through the greater power of His words and 
deeds, have won over to Himself manifold greater numbers of 
adherents ? 

Chapter xlvii. 
He represents, moreover, a statement of his own as if it 
were an answer to one of his questions, in which he asks : " By 
what train of argument were you led to regard him as the Son 
of God ? " For he makes us answer that "we were won over 
to him, because^ we know that his punishment was undergone 
to bring about the destruction of the father of evil." Now 
we were won over to His doctrine by innumerable other con- 
siderations, of which we have stated only the smallest part in 
the preceding pages ; but, if God permit, we shall continue to 
enumerate them, not only while dealing with the so-called True 
Discourse of Celsus, but also on many other occasions. And, 
as if we said that we consider Him to be the Son of God be- 
cause He suffered punishment, he asks : " What then t have 
not many others, too, been punished, and that not less disgrace- 

1 The reading in the text is g/ x.u\ ia/^su ; for which both Bohereau and De 
la Rue propose sttsI i'afisv, which has been adopted in the translation : cf. 
S'jirsl iKokeiaQvii infra. 


fully?" And here Celsus acts like the most contemptible 
enemies of the gospel, and like those who imagine that it fol- 
lows as a consequence from our history of the crucified Jesus, 
that we should worship those who have undergone crucifixion ! 

Chapter xlviii. 

Celsus, moreover, unable to resist the miracles which Jesus is 
recorded to have performed, has already on several occasions 
spoken of them slanderously as works of sorcery ; and we also 
on several occasions have, to the best of our ability, replied to 
his statements. And now he represents us as saying that '^ we 
deemed Jesus to be the Son of God, because he healed the 
lame and the blind." And he adds : " Moreover, as you assert, 
he raised the dead." That He healed the lame and the blind, 
and that therefore we hold Him to be the Christ and the Son 
of God, is manifest to us from what is contained in the pro- 
phecies : ^' Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the 
ears of the deaf shall hear ; then shall the lame man leap as an 
hart." ^ And that He also raised the dead, and that it is no 
fiction of those who composed the Gospels, is shown by this, 
that if it had been a fiction, many individuals would have been 
represented as having risen from the dead, and these, too, 
such as had been many years in their graves. But as it is 
no fiction, they are very easily counted of whom this is related 
to have happened ; viz. the daughter of the ruler of the syna- 
gogue (of whom I know not why He said, " She is not dead, 
but sleepeth," stating regarding her something which does not 
apply to all wdio die) ; and the only son of the widow, on whom 
He took compassion and raised him up, making the bearers of 
the corpse to stand still ; and the third instance, that of Laza- 
rus, who had been four days in the grave. Now, regarding 
these cases we would say to all persons of candid mind, and 
especially to the Jew, that as there were many lepers in the 
days of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was healed save 
Naaman the Syrian, and many widows in the days of Ehjali 
the prophet, to none of whom was Elijah sent save to Sarepta 
in Sidonia (for the widow there had been deemed worthy by a 
divine decree of the miracle which was wrought by the pro- 
^ Cf. Isa. XXXV. 5, 6. 



phet In the matter of the bread) ; so also there were many 
dead in the days of Jesus, but those only rose from the grave 
whom the Logos knew to be fitted for a resurrection, in order 
that the -works done by the Lord might not be merely symbols 
of certain things, but that by the very acts themselves He 
might gain over many to the marvellous doctrine of the gospel. 
I would say, moreover, that, agreeably to the promise of Jesus, 
His disciples performed even greater works than these miracles of 
Jesus, which were perceptible only to the senses.-"^ For the eyes 
of those who are blind in soul are ever opened ; and the ears of 
those who were deaf to virtuous words, listen readily to the 
doctrine of God, and of the blessed life with Him ; and many, 
too, who were lame in the feet of the '' inner man," as Scrip- 
ture calls it, having now been healed by the word, do not simply 
leap, but leap as the hart, which is an animal hostile to serpents, 
and stronger than all the poison of vipers. And these lame 
who have been healed, receive from Jesus power to trample, 
•with those feet in which they were formerly lame, upon the 
serpents and scorpions of wickedness, and generally upon all 
the power of the enemy ; and though they tread upon it, they 
sustain no injury, for they also have become stronger than the 
poison of all evil and of demons. 

Chapter xlix. 

Jesus, accordingly, in turning away the minds of His dis- 
ciples, not merely from giving heed to sorcerers in general, 
and those who profess in any other manner to work miracles — 
for His disciples did not need to be so warned — but from such 
as gave themselves out as the Christ of God, and who tried by 
certain apparent^ miracles to gain over to them the disciples of 
Jesus, said in a certain passage : " Then, if any man shall say 
unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For 
there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show 
great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, 
they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you 
before. Wherefore, if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is 
in the desert, go not forth ; behold, he is in the secret chambers, 
believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and 


shineth even to the west, so also shall the coming of the Son 
of man be."^ And in another passage : "Many will say unto 
me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not eaten and drunk in 
Thy name, and by Thy name have cast out demons, and done 
many wonderful works ? And then will I say unto them, De- 
part from me, because ye are workers of iniquity."" But 
Celsus, wishing to assimilate the miracles of Jesus to the works 
of human sorcery, says in express terms as follows : " O 
light and truth ! he distinctly declares, with his own voice, as 
ye yourselves have recorded, that there will come to you even 
others, employing miracles of a similar kind, who are wicked 
men, and sorcerers ; and he calls him who makes use of such 
devices, one Satan. So that Jesus himself does not deny that 
these works at least are not at all divine, but are the acts of 
wicked men ; and being compelled by the force of truth, he at 
the same time not only laid open the doings of others, but con- 
victed himself .of the same acts. Is it not, then, a miserable 
inference, to conclude from the same works that the one is God 
and the others sorcerers ? Why ought the others, because of 
these acts, to be accounted wicked rather than this man, seeing 
they have him as their vidtness against himself ? For he has 
himself acknowledged that these are not the works of a divine 
nature, but the inventions of certain deceivers, and of thoroughly 
wicked men." Observe, now, whether Celsus is not clearly 
convicted of slandering the gospel by such statements, since 
what Jesus says regarding those who are to work signs and 
wonders is different from what this Jew of Celsus alleges it to 
be. For if Jesus had simply told His disciples to be on their 
guard against those who professed to work m.iracles, without 
declaring what they would give themselves out to be, then 
perhaps there would have been some ground for his suspicion. 
But since those against whom Jesus would have us to be on our 
guard give themselves out as the Christ — which is not a claim 
put forth by sorcerers — and since he says that even some who 
lead wicked lives will perform miracles in the name of Jesus, 
and expel demons out of men, sorcery in the case of these 
individuals, or any suspicion of such, is rather, if we may so 

1 Matt. xxiv. 23-27. 

2 Cf. Matt. vii. 22, 23, with Luke xiii. 26, 27. 


speak, altogether banished, and the divinity of Christ estabh'shed, 
as well as the divine mission^ of His disciples'; seeing that it is 
possible that one who makes use of His name, and who is 
wrought upon by some power, in some way unknown, to make 
the pretence that he is the Christ, should seem to perform 
miracles like those of Jesus, while others through His name 
should do works resembling those of His genuine disciples. 

Chapter l. 

Paul, moreover, in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, 
shows in what manner there will one day be revealed '' the man 
of sin, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself 
above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so that he 
sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." ^ 
And again he says to the Thessalonians : " And now ye know 
what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For 
the mystery of iniquity doth already work : only He who now 
letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way : and then 
shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord will consume 
with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the bright- 
ness of His coming : even him, whose coming is after the work- 
ing of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and 
with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish."^ 
And in assigning the reason why the man of sin is permitted to 
continue in existence, he says : " Because they received not the 
love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause 
God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a 
lie ; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, 
but had pleasure in unrighteousness." * Let any one now say 
whether any of the statements in the Gospel, or in the writings 
of the apostle, could give occasion for the suspicion that there is 
tlierein contained any prediction of sorcery. Any one, more- 
over, who likes may find the prophecy in Daniel respecting 
antichrist.^ But Celsus falsifies the words of Jesus, since He 
did not say that others would come working similar miracles to 
Himself, but who are wicked men and sorcerers, although 
Celsus asserts that He uttered such words. For as the power 

1 hUrrig, lit. divinity. 2 2 Thess. ii. 3, 4. ^2 Thess. ii. 6-10. 

* 2 Thess. ii. 10-12. * Cf. Dan. vii, 26. 


of the Egyptian magicians was not similar to the divinely- 
bestowed grace of Moses, but the issue clearly proved that the 
acts of the former were the effect of magic, while those of 
Moses were wrought by divine power ; so the proceedings of 
the antichrists, and of those who feign that they can work 
miracles as being the disciples of Christ, are said to be lying 
signs and wonders, prevailing with all deceivableness of un- 
righteousness among them that perish ; whereas the works of 
Christ and His disciples had for their fruit, not deceit, but 
the salvation of human souls. And who would rationally 
maintain that an improved moral life, which daily lessened the 
number of a man's offences, could proceed from a system of 
deceit ? 

Chapter lt. 
Celsus, indeed, evinced a slight knowledge of Scripture 
when he made Jesus say, that it is " a certain Satan who con- 
trives such devices ; " although he begs the question ^ when he 
asserts that " Jesus did not deny that these works have in them 
nothing of divinity, but proceed from wicked men," for he 
makes things which differ in kind to be the same. Now, as a 
wolf is not of the same species as a dog, although it may appear 
to have some resemblance in the figure of its body and in its 
voice, nor a common wood-pigeon ^ the same as a dove,^ so there 
is no resemblance between what is done by the power of God 
and what is the effect of sorcery. And we might further say, 
in answ^er to the calumnies of Celsus, Are those to be regarded 
as miracles which are wrought through sorcery by wicked demons, 
but those not which are performed by a nature that is holy and 
divine ? and does human life endure the worse, but never 
receive the better ? Now it appears to me that we must lay it 
down as a general principle, that as, wherever anything that is 
evil would make itself to be of the same nature with the good, 
there must by all means be something that is good opposed to 
the evil ; so also, in opposition to those things which are brought 
about by sorcery, there must also of necessity be some things 
in human life which are the result of divine power. And it 
follows from the same, that we must either annihilate both, and 
assert that neither exists, or, assuming the one, and particularly 


the evil, admit also the reality of the good. Now, if one were 
to lay it down that works are wrought by means of sorcery, but 
would not grant that there are also works which are the pro- 
duct of divine power, he would seem to me to resemble him 
who should admit the existence of sophisms and plausible argu- 
ments, which have the appearance of establishing the truth, 
although really undermining it, while denying that truth had 
anywhere a home among men, or a dialectic which differed from 
sophistry. But if we once admit that it is consistent with the 
existence of magic and sorcery (which derive their power from 
evil demons, who are spell-bound by elaborate incantations, and 
become subject to sorcerers) that some works must be found 
among men which proceed from a power that is divine, why 
shall we not test those who profess to perform them by their 
lives and morals, and the consequences of their miracles, viz. 
whether they tend to the injury of men or to the reformation 
of conduct ? What minister of evil demons, e.g,, can do such 
things? and by means of what incantations and magic arts? 
And who, on the other hand, is it that, having his soul and his 
spirit, and I imagine also his body, in a pure and holy state, 
receives a divine spirit, and performs such works in order to 
benefit men, and to lead them to believe on the true God? 
But if we must once investigate (without being carried away 
by the miracles themselves) who it is that performs them by 
help of a good, and who by help of an evil power, so that we 
may neither slander all without discrimination, nor yet admire 
and accept all as divine, will it not be manifest, from what 
occurred in the times of Moses and Jesus, when entire nations 
were established in consequence of their miracles, that these 
men wrought by means of divine power what they are recorded 
to have performed? For wickedness and sorcery would not 
have led a whole nation to rise not only above idols and images 
erected by men, but also above all created things, and to ascend 
to the uncreated origin of the God of the universe. 

Chapter lii. 

But since it is a Jew who makes these assertions in the 
treatise of Celsus, we would say to him : Pray, friend, why do 
you believe the works which are recorded in your writings as 


having been performed by God through the instrumentality of 
Moses to be really divine, and endeavour to refute those who 
slanderously assert that they were wrought by sorcery, like 
those of the Egyptian magicians ; while, in imitation of your 
Egyptian opponents, you charge those which were done by 
Jesus, and which, you admit, were actually performed, with not 
being divine ? For if the final result, and the founding of an 
entire nation by the miracles of Moses, manifestly demonstrate 
that it was God who brought these things to pass in the time of 
Moses the Hebrew lawgiver, why should not such rather be 
shown to be the case with Jesus, who accomplished far greater 
works than those of Moses 1 For the former took those of his 
own nation, the descendants of Abraham, who had observed 
the rite of circumcision transmitted by tradition, and who were 
careful observers of the Abrahamic usages, and led them out 
of Egypt, enacting for them those laws which you believe to 
be divine ; whereas the latter ventured upon a greater under- 
taking, and superinduced upon the pre-existing constitution, 
and upon ancestral customs and modes of life agreeable to the 
existing laws, a constitution in conformity with the gospel. 
And as it was necessary, in order that Moses should find credit 
not only among the elders, but the common people, that there 
should be performed those miracles which he is recorded to 
have performed, why should not Jesus also, in order that He 
may be believed on by those of the people who had learned to 
ask for signs and wonders, require to work such miracles as, on 
account of their greater grandeur and divinity (in comparison 
with those of Moses), were able to convert men from Jewish 
fables, and from the human traditions which prevailed among 
them, and make them admit that He who taught and did such 
things was greater than the prophets ? For how was not He 
greater than the prophets, who was proclaimed by them to be 
the Christ, and the Saviour of the human race ? 

Chapter liii. 

All the arguments, indeed, which this Jew of Celsus ad- 
vances against those who believe on Jesus, may, by parity of 
reasoning, be urged as ground of accusation against Moses ; so 
that there is no difference in asserting that the sorcery prac- 

56 OniGEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book ii. 

tised by Jesus and that by Moses were similar to each other/ — 
both of them, so far as the language of this Jew of Celsus is 
concerned, being liable to the same charge ; as, e.g., when this 
Jew says of Christ, " But, O light and truth ! Jesus with his 
own voice expressly declares, as you yourselves have recorded, 
that there will appear among you others also, who will perform 
miracles like mine, but who are wicked men and sorcerers," 
some one, either Greek or Egyptian, or any other party who 
disbelieved the Jew, might say respecting Moses, " But, O 
light and truth ! Moses with his own voice expressly declares, 
as ye also have recorded, that there will appear among you 
others also, who will perform miracles like mine, but who are 
wicked men and sorcerers. For it is written in your law, ' If 
there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and 
giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder come to 
pass whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other 
gods which thou hast not known, and let us serve them ; thou 
shalt not hearken to the words of that prophet or dreamer of 
dreams,' "^ etc. Again, perverting the words of Jesus, he says, 
" And he terms him who devises such things, one Satan ;" while 
one, aj)plying this to Moses, might say, " And he terms him 
who devises such things, a prophet who dreams dreams." And 
as this Jew asserts regarding Jesus, that '•'- even he himself 
does not deny that these works have in them nothing of divi- 
nity, but are the acts of wicked men ;" so any one wlio disbe- 
lieves the writings of Moses might say, quoting what has been 
already said, the same thing, viz., that ^' even Moses does not 
deny that these works have in them nothing of divinity, but are 
the acts of wicked men." And he will do the same thing also 
with respect to this : " Being compelled by the force of truth, 
Moses at the same time both exposed the doings of otiiers, and 
convicted himself of the same." And when the Jew says, 
" Is it not a wretched inference from the same acts, to con- 
clude that the one is a God, and the others sorcerers ? " one 
might object to him, on the ground of those words of Moses 
already quoted, " Is it not then a wretched inference from 

- Deut. xiii. 1-3. 


the same acts, to conclude that the one is a prophet and servant 
of God, and the others sorcerers ? " But when, in addition to 
those comparisons which I have ah'eady mentioned, Celsus, 
dwelling upon the subject, adduces this also : " Why from 
these works should the others be accomited wicked, rather than 
this man, seeing they have him as a witness against himself?" 
— we, too, shall adduce the following, in addition to what has 
been already said : " Why, from those passages in which Moses 
forbids us to believe those who exhibit signs and wonders, ought 
we to consider such persons as wicked, rather than Moses, 
because he calumniates some of them in respect of their signs 
and wonders?" And urging more to the same effect, that he 
may appear to strengthen his attempt, he says : " He himself 
acknowledged" that these were not the works of a divine nature, 
but were the inventions of certain deceivers, and of very wicked 
men." Who, then, is "himself?" You, O Jew, say that it 
is Jesus ; but he who accuses you as liable to the same charges, 
will transfer this " himself" to the person of Moses. 

Chapter liv. 

After this, forsooth, the Jew of Celsus, to keep up the 
character assigned to the Jew from the beginning, in his 
address to those of his countrymen who had become believers, 
says : " By what, then, were you induced [to become his fol- 
lowers] ? Was it because he foretold that after his death he 
would rise again ? " Now this question, like the others, can be 
retorted upon Moses. For we might say to the Jew : " By 
what, then, were you induced [to become the follower of 
Moses] ? Was it because he put on record the following state- 
ment about his own death : ' And Moses, the servant of the 
Lord, died there, in the land of Moab, according to the word 
of the Lord ; and they buried him in Moab, near the house of 
Phogor: and no one knoweth his sepulchre until this day?' "^ 
For as the Jew casts discredit upon the statement, that " Jesus 
foretold that after His death He would rise again," another 
person might make a similar assertion about Moses, and would 
say in reply, that Moses also put on record (for the book of 
Deuteronomy is his composition) the statement, that " no one 
^ Cf. Deut. xxxiv. 5, 6. 


knowetli his sepulchre until this day," in order to magnify and 
enhance the importance of his place of burial, as .being un- 
known to mankind. 

Chapter lv. 

The Jew continues his address to those of his countrymen 
who are converts, as follows : " Come now, let us grant to you 
that the prediction was actually uttered. Yet how many others 
are there who practise such juggling tricks, in order to deceive 
their simple hearers, and who make gain by their deception ? — 
as w^as the case, they say, with Zamolxis^ in Scythia, the slave 
of Pythagoras ; and with Pythagoras himself in Italy ; and with 
Rhampsinitus^ in Egypt (the latter of whom, they say, played 
at dice with Demeter in Hades, and returned to the upper 
world with a golden napkin which he had received from her as 
a gift) ; and also with Orpheus^ among the Odrysians, and 
Protesilaus in Thessaly, and Hercules^ at Cape Tsenarus, and 
Theseus. But the question is, whether any one who was really 
dead ever rose with a veritable body.^ Or do you imagine the 
statements of others not only to be myths, but to have the 
appearance of such, while you have discovered a becoming and 
credible termination to your drama in the voice from the cross, 
when he breathed his last, and in the earthquake and the dark- 
ness ? That while alive he was of no assistance to himself, 
but that when dead he rose again, and showed the marks of 
his punishment, and how his hands were pierced with nails : 
who beheld this % A half-frantic^ w^oman, as you state, and 
some other one, perhaps, of those who were engaged in the 
same system of delusion, who had either dreamed so, owing to 
a peculiar state of mind,^ or under the influence of a wandering 
imagination had formed to himself an appearance according to 
his own wishes,^ which has been the case with numberless 
individuals ; or, which is most probable, one who desired to 
impress others with this portent, and by such a falsehood to 
furnish an occasion to impostors like himself." 

1 Cf. Herodot. iv. 95. " ^ Qf, Herodot. ii. 122. 

3 Cf. Diodor. iv. BiU. Hist •* Cf. Diodor. iv. Bihl Hist. 

* ccvru aufAocrt. ^ yvv/i 'Trupoiarpo?. ^ x,ur» riuoe. '^luhaiv ovupu^ctg. 


Now, since it is a Jew who makes these statements, we shall 
conduct the defence of our Jesus as if we were replying to a 
Jew, still continuing the comparison derived from the accounts 
regarding Moses, and saying to him : " How many others are 
there who practise similar juggling tricks to those of Moses, in 
order to deceive their silly hearers, and who make gain by their 
deception ?" Now this objection would be more appropriate in 
the mouth of one who did not believe in Moses (as we might 
quote the instances of Zamolxis and Pythagoras, who were 
engaged in such juggling tricks) than in that of a Jew, who is 
not very learned in the histories of the Greeks. An Egyptian, 
moreover, who did not believe the miracles of Moses, might 
credibly adduce the instance of Ehampsinitus, saying that it was 
fai* more credible that he had descended to Hades, and had 
played at dice with Demeter, and that after stealing from her 
a golden napkin he exhibited it as a sign of his having been in 
Hades, and of his having returned thence, than that Moses 
should have recorded that he entered into the darkness, where 
God was, and that he alone, above all others, drew near to God. 
For the following is his statement : " Moses alone shall come 
near the Lord; but the rest shall not come nigh."^ We, then, 
who are the disciples of Jesus, say to the Jew who urges these 
objections : " While assailing our belief in Jesus, defend your- 
self, and answer the Egyptian and the Greek objectors : what 
will you say to those charges which you brought against our 
Jesus, but which also might be brought against Moses first ? 
And if you should make a vigorous effort to defend Moses, 
as indeed his history does admit of a clear and powerful 
defence, you will unconsciously, in your support of Moses, be 
an unwilling assistant in establishing the greater divinity of 

Chapter lvi. 

But since the Jew says that these histories of the alleged 
descent of heroes to Hades, and of their return thence, are 
juggling impositions,^ maintaining that these heroes disap- 
peared for a certain time, and secretly withdrew themselves from 
1 Cf. Ex. xxiv. 2. 


tlie sight of all men, and gave themselves out afterwards as 
having returned from Hades, — for such is the meaning which 
his words seem to convey respecting the Odrysian Orpheus, and 
the Thessalian Protesilaus, and the Tsenarian Hercules, and 
Theseus also, — let us endeavour to show that the account of 
Jesus being raised from the dead cannot possibly be compared 
to these. For each one of the heroes respectively mentioned 
might, had he wished, have secretly withdrawn himself from 
the sight of men, and returned again, if so determined, to those 
whom he had left ; but seeing that Jesus was crucified before 
all the Jews, and Ilis body slain in the presence of His nation, 
how can they bring themselves to say that He practised a 
similar deception^ with those heroes who are related to have 
gone down to Hades, and to have returned thence ? But we 
say that the following consideration might be adduced, perhaps, 
as a defence of the public crucifixion of Jesus, especially in 
connection with the existence of those stories of heroes who are 
supposed to have been compelled^ to descend to Hades : that 
if we were to suppose Jesus to have died an obscure death, so 
that the fact of His decease was not patent to the whole nation 
of the Jews, and afterwards to have actually risen from the 
dead, there would, in such a case, have been ground for the same 
suspicion entertained regarding the heroes being also enter- 
tained regarding Himself. Probably, then, in addition to other 
causes for the crucifixion of Jesus, this also may have con- 
tributed to His dying a conspicuous death upon the cross, that 
no one might have it in his power to say that He voluntarily 
withdrew from the sight of men, and seemed only to die, Avith- 
out really doing so; but, appearing again, made a juggler's 
trick^ of the resurrection from the dead. But a clear and un- 
mistakeable proof of the fact I hold to be the undertaking of 
His disciples, who devoted themselves to the teaching of a 
doctrine which was attended with danger to human life, — a 
doctrine which they would not have taught wdth such courage 
had they invented the resurrection of Jesus from the dead; 

^ tZ; oiourcci TO 'Tiroc.puTirX'^aiov 'Tr'ha.auadu.i "hsysiv ociirou roig iaTopov/^hoi;^ 

^ Kurcc/BsiSYjKiuui fii». Bohereau proposes the omission of (itu, 
^ hspuTSvaaro. 


and who also, at the same time, not only prepared others to 
despise death, but were themselves the first to manifest their 
disregard for its terrors. 

Chapter lvii. 

But observe whether this Jew of Celsus does not talk very 
blindly, in saying that it is impossible for any one to rise from 
the dead with a veritable body, his language being : " But this 
is the question, whether any one who was really dead ever rose 
again with a veritable body ? " Now a Jew would not have 
uttered these words, who believed what is recorded in the third 
and fourth books of Kings regarding little children, of whom 
the one was raised up by Elijah,-^ and the other by Elisha.^ 
And on this account, too, I think it was that Jesus appeared to 
no other nation than the Jews, who had become accustomed 
to miraculous occurrences ; so that, by comparing what they 
themselves believed with the works which were done by Him, 
and with what was related of Him, they might confess that 
He, in regard to whom greater things were done, and by whom 
mightier marvels were performed, was greater than all those 
who preceded Him. 

Chapter lviii. 

Further, after these Greek stories which the Jew adduced 
respecting those who were guilty of juggling practices/ and 
who pretended to have risen from the dead, he says to those 
Jews who are converts to Christianity : /' Do you imagine the 
statements of others not only to be myths, but to have the 
appearance of such, while you have discovered a becoming and 
credible termination to your drama in the voice from the cross, 
when he breathed his last?" We reply to the Jew : '^ What 
you adduce as myths, we regard also as such ; but the state- 
ments of the Scriptures which are common to us both, in which 
not you only, but we also, take pride, we do not at all regard as 
myths. And therefore we accord our belief to those who have 
therein related that some rose from the dead, as not being 
guilty of imposition ; and to Him especially there mentioned 

1 Cf. 1 Kings xvii. 21, 22. 2 cf, 2 Kings iv. 34, 35. 

^ Tipoc,rivo[/.iuotg. 


as having risen, who both predicted the event Himself, and 
was the subject of prediction by others. And His resurrection 
is more miraculous than that of the others in this respect, that 
they were raised by the prophets Elijah and . Ellsha, while He 
was raised by none of the prophets, but by His Father in 
heaven. And therefore His resurrection also produced greater 
results than theirs. For what great good has accrued to the 
world from the resurrection of the children through the instru- 
mentality of Elijah and Elisha, such as has resulted from the 
preaching of- the resurrection of Jesus, accepted as an article 
of belief, and as effected through the agency of divine 

Chapter lix. 

He imagines also that both the earthquake and the darkness 
were an invention ;^ but regarding these, we have in the pre- 
ceding pages made our defence, according to our ability, ad- 
ducing the testimony of Phlegon, who relates that these events 
took place at the time when our Saviour suffered. And he 
goes on to say, that " Jesus, while alive, was of no assistance to 
himself, but that he arose after death, and exhibited the marks 
of his punishment, and showed how his hands had been pierced 
by nails." We ask him what he means by the expression, " was 
of no assistance to himself? " For if he means it to refer to want 
of virtue, we reply that He ivas of very great assistance. For 
He.ueither uttered nor committed anything that was improper, 
but was truly " led as a sheep to the slaughter, and was dumb 
as a lamb before the shearer;"^ and the Gospel testifies that He 
opened not His mouth. But if Celsus applies the expression 
to things indifferent and corporeal,^ [meaning that in such 
Jesus could render no help to Himself,] we say that we have 
proved from the Gospels that He went voluntarily to encounter 
His sufferings. Speaking next of the statements in the Gospels, 
that after His resurrection He showed the marks of His punish- 
ment, and how His hands had been pierced, he asks, " Who 
beheld this?" And discrediting the narrative of Mary Mag- 
dalene, who is related to have seen Him, he replies, '^ A half- 

* U Sg TO *' iTT^pKiaeu" d'TTo rau fisarau kxI aa/icotTtKau 7\.»f^^auu. 


frantic woman, as ye state." And because she is not the only- 
one who is recorded to have seen the Saviour after His resur- 
rection, but others a] so are mentioned, this Jew of Celsus 
calumniates these statements also in adding, " And some one 
else of those engaged in the same system of deception!" 

Chapter lx. 

In the next place, as if this were possible, viz. that the image 
of a man who was dead could appear to another as if he were 
still living, he adopts this opinion as an Epicurean, and says, 
" That some one having so dreamed owing to a peculiar state 
of mind, or having, under the influence of a perverted imagi- 
nation, formed such an appearance as he himself desired, re- 
ported that such had been seen ; and this," he continues, " has 
been the case with numberless individuals." But even if this 
statement of his seems to have a considerable degree of force, 
it is nevertheless only fitted to confirm a necessary doctrine, 
that the soul of the dead exists in a separate state [from the 
body] ; and he who adopts such an opinion does not believe 
without good reason in the immortality, or at least continued 
existence, of the soul, as even Plato says in his treatise on the 
Soul that shadowy phantoms of persons already dead have ap- 
peared to some around their sepulchres. Now the phantoms 
which exist about the soul of the dead are produced by some 
substance, and this substance is in the soul, which exists apart 
in a body said to be of splendid appearance.-^ But Celsus, un- 
willing to admit any such view, will have it that some dreamed 
a waking dream,^ and, under the influence of a perverted ima- 
gination, formed to themselves such an image as they desired. 
Now it is not irrational to believe that a dream may take place 
while one is asleep ; but to suppose a waking vision in the case 
of those who are not altogether out of their senses, and under 
the influence of delirium or hypochondria, is incredible. And 
Celsus, seeing this, called the woman "half-mad," — a state- 
ment which is not made by the history recording the fact, but 

1 rcc fiiv ovu yivofisvx 'Trept •^v)(,7ig TS&uyjKorau (petvruvf^ctTcc oL'tco rtvog vvt- 
xsi^evov yivirui^ tov xxrd rvjv v(piarYix.v7otu iu 7^ KuT^ov^iva uvyosihii Qon^dxi 
-ipv^cri!^- Cf. note in Benedictine ed. 

2 VTUp. 


from wliicli he took occasion to charge the occurrences with 
being untrue. 

Chapter lxi. 

Jesus accordingly, as Celsus imagines, exhibited after His 
death only the appearance of wounds received on the cross, and 
was not in reality so wounded as He is described to have been ; 
whereas, according to the teaching of the Gospel — some por- 
tions of which Celsus arbitrarily accepts, in order to find ground 
of accusation, and other parts of which he rejects — Jesus called 
to Him one of His disciples who was sceptical, and who deemed 
the miracle an impossibility. That individual had, indeed, ex- 
pressed his belief in the statement of the woman who said that 
she had seen Him, because he did not think it impossible that 
the soul of a dead man could be seen ; but he did not yet con- 
sider the report to be true that He had been raised in a body, 
which was the antitype of the former.^ And therefore he did 
not merely say, "Unless I see, I will not believe;" but he added, 
" Unless I put my hand into the print of the nails, and lay my 
hands upon His side, I will not believe." These words were 
spoken by Thomas, who deemed it possible that the body of 
the soul might be seen by the eye of sense, resembling in all 
respects its former appearance, 

"Both in size, and in beauty of eyes, 
And in voice ;" 

and frequently, too, 

"Having, also, such garments around the person' [as when alive]." 

Jesus accordingly, having called Thomas, said, " Reach hither 
thy finger, and behold- my hands ; and reach hither thy hand, 
and thrust it into my side : and be not faithless, but believ- 


Chapter lxii. 

Now it followed from all the predictions which were uttered 
regarding Him — ^ amongst which was this prediction of the 
resurrection — and from all that was done by Him, and from 

3 Cf. Homer, Iliad, xxiii. 66, 67. ^ cf. John xx. 27. 


all the events wliich befell Him, that this event should be 
mai'vellous above all others. For it had been said beforehand 
by the prophet in the person of Jesus : " My flesh shall rest in 
hope, and Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades, and wilt not 
suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption." ^ And truly, after 
His resurrection, He existed in a body intermediate, as it were, 
between the grossness of that which He had before His suffer- 
ings, and the appearance of a soul uncovered by such a body. 
And hence it was, that when His disciples were together, and 
Thomas with them, there " came Jesus, the doors being shut, 
and stood in the midst, and said. Peace be unto you. Then 
saith He to Thomas, Keach hither thy finger," ^ etc. And in 
the Gospel of Luke also, while Simon and Cleopas were con- 
versing with each other respecting all that had happened to 
them, Jesus "drew near, and went with them. And their 
eyes were holden, that they should not know Him. And He 
said unto them. What manner of communications are these 
that ye have one to another, as ye walk?" And when their 
eyes were opened, and they knew Him, then the Scripture says, 
in express words, ^'And He vanished out of their sight." ^ And 
although Celsus may wish to place what is told of Jesus, and 
of those who saw Him after His resurrection, on the same level 
with imaginary appearances of a different kind, and those who 
have invented such, yet to those who institute a candid and 
intelligent examination, the events will appear only the more 

Chapter lxiii. 

After these points, Celsus proceeds to bring against the 
Gospel narrative a charge which is not to be lightly passed 
over, saying that " if Jesus desired to show that his power was 
really divine, he ought to have appeared to those who had ill- 
treated him, and to him who had condemned him, and to all men 
universally." For it appears to us also to be true, according 
to the Gospel account, that He was not seen after His resur- 
rection in the same manner as He used formerly to show Him- 
self — publicly, and to all men. But it is recorded in the Acts, 
that " being seen during forty days," He expounded to His 

1 Ps. xvi. 9, 10. 2 joi^n XX. 26, 27. * Luke xxiv. 15, 31. 



disciples " the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." ^ 
And in the Gospels ^ it is not stated that He was always with 
them ; but that on one occasion He appeared in their midst, 
after eight days, when the doors were shut, and on another in 
some similar fashion. And Paul also, in the concluding por- 
tions of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, in reference to His 
not having publicly appeared as He did in the period before 
He suffered, writes as follows : " For I delivered unto you first 
of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our 
sins according to the Scriptures ; and that He was seen of 
Cephas, then of the twelve : after that He was seen of above 
five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain 
unto the present time, but some are fallen asleep. After that 
He was seen of James, then of all the apostles. And last of 
all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." ® 
I am of opinion now that the statements in this passage con- 
tain some great and wonderful mysteries, which are beyond 
the grasp not merely of the great multitude of ordinary be- 
lievers, but even of those who are far advanced [in Christian 
knowledge], and that in them the reason would be explained 
why He did not show Himself, after His resurrection from the 
dead, in the same manner as before that event. And in a 
treatise of this nature, composed in answer to a work directed 
against the Christians and their faith, observe whether we are 
able to adduce a few rational arguments out of a greater 
number, and thus make an impression upon the hearers of this 

Chapter lxiv. 

Although Jesus was only a single individual. He was never- 
theless more things than one, according to the different stand- 
point from which He might be regarded ;* nor was He seen in 
the same way by all who beheld Him. Now, that He was more 
things than one, according to the varying point of view, is clear 
from this statement, *^ I am the way, and the truth, and the 
life ;" and from this, " I am the bread ;" and this, *•' I am the 
door," and innumerable others.- And that when seen He did 

1 Acts i. 3. 2 Qi John xx. 26. 

3 1 Cor. XV. 3-8. * v'KiiQvu tj5 sz-ivoiot ^p. 


not appear in like fashion to all those who saw Him, but 
according to their several ability to receive Him, will be clear 
to those who notice why, at the time when He was about to 
be transfigured on the high mountain, He did not admit all 
His apostles [to this sight], but only Peter, and James, and 
John, because they alone were capable of beholding His glory 
on that occasion, and of observing the glorified appearance of 
Moses and Elijah, and of listening to their conversation, and to 
the voice from the heavenly cloud. I am of opinion, too, that 
before He ascended the mountain where His disciples came to 
Him alone, and where He taught them the beatitudes, when 
He was somewhere in the lower part of the mountain, and 
when, as it became late. He healed those who were brought to 
Him, freeing theta from all sickness and disease, He did not 
appear the same person to the sick, and to those who needed 
His healing aid, as to those who were able by reason of their 
strength to go up the mountain along with Him. Nay, even 
when He interpreted privately to His own disciples the parables 
which were delivered to the multitudes without, from whom the 
explanation was withheld, as they who heard them explained 
were endowed with higher organs of hearing than they who heard 
them without explanation, so was it altogether the same with 
the eyes of their soul, and, I think, also with those of their body.' 
And the following statement shows that He had not always the 
same appearance, viz. that Judas, when about to betray Him, 
said to the multitudes who were setting out with him, as not 
being acquainted with Him, '^Whomsoever I shall kiss, the same 
is he."^ And I think that the Saviour Himself indicates the 
same thing by the words : " I was daily with you, teaching in 
the temple, and ye laid no hold on me."^ Entertaining, then, 
such exalted viev/s regarding Jesus, not only with respect to 
the Deity within, and which was hidden from the view of the 
multitude, but with respect to the transfiguration of His body, 
which took place when and to whom He would, we say, that 
before Jesus had " put off the governments and powers," * and 

^ ovroi Kod reels o-ipeci -Troiuras fcsu r^; -^^v^^^g^ syu B' ^yoy^se/, on xxi rou 

2 Matt. xxvi. 48. « Matt. xxvi. 65. 

* Tov f4.^ dxiKlvaoifiivov, etc. Cf. Alford, in loco (Col. ii. 15). 


while as yet He was not dead unto sin, all men were capable 
of seeing Him ; but that, when He had " put off the govern- 
ments and powers," and had no longer anything which was 
capable of being seen by the multitude, all who had formerly 
seen Him were not now able to behold Him. And therefore, 
sparing them, He did not show Himself to all after His resur- 
rection from the dead. 

Chapter lxv. 

And why do I say ^' to all ? " For even with His own 
apostles and disciples He was not perpetually present, nor did 
He constantly show Himself to them, because they were not able 
without intermission-^ to receive His divinity. For His deity 
was more resplendent after He had finished the economy^ [of 
salvation] : and this Peter, surnamed Cephas, the first-fruits 
as it were of the apostles, was enabled to behold, and along 
with him the twelve (Matthias having been substituted in room 
of Judas) ; and after them He appeared to the five hundred 
brethren at once, and then to James, and subsequently to all 
the others besides the twelve apostles, perhaps to the seventy 
also, and lastly to Paul, as to one born out of due time, and who 
knew well how to say, " Unto *me, who am less than the least 
of all saints, is this grace given ;" and probably the expression 
" least of all " has the same meaning with " one born out of 
due time." For as no one could reasonably blame Jesus for 
not having admitted all His apostles to the high mountain, but 
only the three already mentioned, on the occasion of His trans- 
figuration, when He was about to manifest the splendour which 
appeared in His garments, and the glory of Moses and Elias 
talking with Him, so none could reasonably object to the state- 
ments of the apostles, who introduce the appearance of Jesus 
after His resurrection as having been made not to all, but to 
those only whom He knew to have received eyes capable of 
seeing His resurrection. I think, moreover, that the following 
statement regarding Him has an apologetic value ' in reference 
to our subject, viz. : ^' For to this end Christ died, and rose 
again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living."* 

2 X,pyiOi[/.ov B' oF^ee/ -Trpog dTTokoyiuv rav '^pox.nfihav. * Cf. Rom. xiv. 9. 

Book il] OltlGEN AGAINST CELSUS, 69 

For observe, it is conveyed in these words, that Jesus died 
that He might be Lord of the dead ; and that He rose again 
to be Lord not only of the dead, but also of the living. And 
the apostle understands, undoubtedly, by the dead over whom 
Christ is to be Lord, those who are so called in the first 
Epistle to the Corinthians, " For the trumpet shall sound, and 
the dead shall be raised incorruptible ; " ^ and by the living, 
those who are to be changed, and who are different from the 
dead who are to be raised. And respecting the living the words 
are these, ^^ And we shall be changed;" an expression which 
follows immediately after the statement, " The dead shall be 
raised first." ^ Moreover, in the first Epistle to the Thessa- 
lonians, describing the same change in different words, he says 
that they who sleep are not the same as those who are alive ; 
his language being, "I would not have you to be ignorant,, 
brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that ye sorrow not, 
even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that 
Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also that sleep in Jesus 
will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the 
word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the 
coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them that are asleep." * 
The explanation which appeared to us to be appropriate to 
this passage, we gave in the exegetical remarks which we have 
made on the first Epistle to the Thessalonians. 

Chapter lxvi. 

And be not surprised if all the multitudes who have be- 
lieved on Jesus do not behold His resurrection, when Paul, 
writing to the Corinthians, can say to them, as being incapable 
of receiving greater matters, " For I determined not to know 
anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified ; " * 
which is the same as saying, "Hitherto ye were not able, 
neither yet now are ye able, for ye are still carnal."^ The 
Scripture, therefore, doing everything by appointment of God, 
has recorded of Jesus, that before His sufferings He appeared 
to all indifferently, but not always ; while after His sufferings 
He no longer appeared to all in the same way, but with a certain 

1 1 Cor. XV. 52. 2 cf^ i Cqj. ^v. 52 with I Thess. iv. 16. 

3 Cf. 1 Thess. iv. 13-15. * 1 Cor. ii. 2. « Cf. 1 Cor. iii. 2, 3. 


discrimination which measured out to each his due. And as it 
is related that " God appeared to Abraham," or to one of the 
saints, and this " appearance" was not a thing of constant occur- 
rence, but took place at intervals, and not to all, so understand 
that the Son of God appeared in the one case on the same prin- 
ciple that God appeared to the latter.^ 

Chapter lxvii. 

To the best of our ability, therefore, as in a treatise of this 
nature, we have answered the objection, that " if Jesus had 
really wished to manifest his divine power, he ought to have 
shown himself to those who ill-treated him, and to the judge 
who condemned him, and to all without reservation." There 
was, however, no obligation on Him to appear either to the 
judge who condemned Him, or to those who ill-treated Him. 
For Jesus spared both the one and the other, that they might 
not be smitten with blindness, as the men of Sodom were when 
they conspired against the beauty of the angels entertained by 
Lot. And here is the account of the matter : " But the men 
put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, 
and shut to the door. And they smote the men who were at 
the door of the house with blindness, both small and great ; so 
that they wearied themselves to find the door." ^ Jesus, ac- 
cordingly, wished to show that His power was divine to each 
one who was capable of seeing it, and according to the measure 
of His capability. And I do not suppose that He guarded 
against being seen on any other ground than from a regard to 
the fitness of those who were incapable of seeing Him. And 
it is in vain for Celsus to add, " For he had no longer occasion 
to fear any man after his death, being, as you say, a God ; nor 
was he sent into the world at all for the purpose of being hid." 
Yet He was sent into the world not only to become known, but 
also to be hid. For all that He was, was not known even to 
those to whom He was known, but a certain part of Him 
remained concealed even from them ; and to some He was not 
known at all. And He opened the gates of light to those who 

■' ovra f/>oi voit x,oil rou viourov Geou u(p6xirri vupwTr'h-naia.iigTO ^sp'i tKSiuuVf 
tig TO a(p&oLi ocvrolc; rov Qsov, Kpi'asi, 
2 Cf. Gen. xix. 10, 11. 


were the sons of darkness and of night, and had devoted them- 
selves to becoming the sons of h'ght and of the day. For our 
Saviour Lord, like a good physician, came rather to us who 
were full of sins, than to those who were righteous. 

Chapter lxviit. 

But let us observe how this Jew of Celsus asserts that, " if 
this at least would have helped to manifest his divinity, he 
ought accordingly to have at once disappeared from the cross." 
Now this seems to me to be like the argument of those who 
oppose the doctrine of providence, and who arrange things 
differently from what they are, and allege that the world would 
be better if it were as they arrange it. Now, in those instances 
in which their arrangement is a possible one, they are proved 
to make the world, so far as depends upon them, worse by their 
arrangement than it actually is ; while in those cases in which 
they do not portray things worse than they really are, they 
are shown to desire impossibilities ; so that in either case they 
are deserving of ridicule. And here, accordingly, that there 
was no impossibility in His coming, as a being of diviner 
nature, in order to disappear when He chose, is clear from the 
very nature of the case; and is certain, moreover, from what 
is recorded of Him, in the judgment of those who do not adopt 
certain portions merely of the narrative that they may have 
ground for accusing Christianity, and who consider other por- 
tions to be fiction. For it is related in St. Luke's Gospel, that 
Jesus after His resurrection took bread, and blessed it, and 
breaking it, distributed it to Simon and Cleopas; and when 
they had received the bread, " their eyes were opened, and 
they knew Him, and He vanished out of their sight." ^ 

Chapter lxix. 

But we wish to show that His instantaneous bodily disappear- 
ance from the cross was not better fitted to serve the purposes 
of the whole economy of salvation [than His remaining upon 
it was]. For the mere letter and narrative of the events which 
happened to Jesus do not present the whole view of the truth. 
For each one of them can be shown, to those who have an in- 
1 Of. Luke xxiv. 30, 31. 


telligent apprehension of Scripture, to be a symbol of something 
else. Accordingly, as His crucifixion contains a truth, repre- 
sented in the words, " I am crucified with Christ," and inti- 
mated also in these, " God forbid that I should glory, save in 
the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is cru- 
cified to me, and I unto the world ; " ^ and as His death was 
necessary, because of the statement, " For in that He died. He 
died unto sin once," ^ and this, " Being made conformable to 
His death," ^ and this, "For if we be dead with Him, we shall 
also live wath Him :" * so also His burial has an application to 
those who have been made conformable to His death, who 
have been both crucified with Him, and have died with Him ; 
as is declared by Paul, " For we were buried with Him by bap- 
tism, and have also risen with Him."^ These matters, how- 
ever, which relate to His burial, and his sepulchre, and him 
who buried Him, we shall expound at greater length on a more 
suitable occasion, when it will be our professed purpose to 
treat of such things. But, for the present, it is sufficient to 
notice the clean linen in which the pure body of Jesus was to 
be enwrapped, and the new tomb which Joseph had hewn out 
of the rock, where "no one was yet lying," ^ or, as John ex- 
presses it, " wherein was never man yet laid." ^ And observe 
w^hether the harmony of the three evangelists here is not fitted to 
make an impression : for they have thought it right to describe 
the tomb as one that was " quarried or hewn out of the rock ; " 
so that he who examines the words of the narrative may see 
something worthy of consideration, both in them and in the 
newness of the tomb, — a point mentioned by Matthew and 
John,^ — and in the statement of Luke and John,^ that no one 
had ever been interred therein before. For it became Him,, 
who was unlike other dead men (but who even in death mani- 
fested signs of life in the water and the blood), and who was, 
so to speak, a new dead man, to be laid in a new and clean 

1 Cf. Gal. vi. 14. 2 Rom. vi. 10. ^ Phil. iii. 10. 

* 2 Tim. ii. 11. ^ qi Rom. vi. 4. 

® Luke xxiii. 63, ovx. viv ovTra ovlds KSi/xsuog, 

7 John xix. 41, b w ovliTra ovlsl; iTtdn. 

8 Cf. Matt, xxvii. CO with John xix. 41. 

9 Cf. Luke xxiii. 53 with John xix. 41. 


tomb, in order that, as His birth was purer than any other (in 
consequence of His being born, not in the way of ordinary 
generation, but of a virgin). His burial also might have the 
purity symbolically indicated in His body being deposited in 
a sepulchre which was new, not built of stones gathered from 
various quarters, and having no natural unity, but. quarried 
and hewed out of one rock, united together in all its parts. 
Regarding the explanation, however, of these points, and the 
method of ascending from the narratives themselves to the 
tilings which they symbolized, one might treat more profoundly, 
and in a manner more adapted to their divine character, on a 
more suitable occasion, in a work expressly devoted to such 
subjects. The literal narrative, however, one might thus ex- 
plain, viz. that it was appropriate for Him who had resolved to 
endure suspension upon the cross, to maintain all the accom- 
paniments of the character He had assumed, in order that He 
who as a man had been put to death, and who as a man had 
died, might also as a man be buried. But even if it had been 
related in the Gospels, according to the view of Celsus, that 
Jesus had immediately disappeared from the cross, he and other 
unbelievers would have found fault with the narrative, and 
would have brought against it some such objection as this : 
" Why, pray, did he disappear after he had been put upon 
the cross, and not disappear before he suffered ? " If, then, 
after learning from the Gospels that He did not at once dis- 
appear from the cross, they imagine that they can find fault 
with the narrative, because it did not invent, as they consider 
it ought to have done, any such instantaneous disappearance, 
but gave a true account of the matter, is it not reasonable that 
they should accord their faith also to His resurrection, and 
should believe that He, according to His pleasure, on one occa- 
sion, when the doors were shut, stood in the midst of His dis- 
ciples, and on another, after distributing bread to two of His 
acquaintances, immediately disappeared from view, after He 
had spoken to them certain words ? 

Chapter lxx. 

But how is it that this Jew of Celsus could say that Jesus 
concealed Himself ? For his words regarding Him are these : 


'' And who that is sent as a messenger ever conceals himself 
when he ought to make known his message?" Now, He did 
not conceal Himself, who said to those who sought to appre- 
hend Him, ^' I was daily teaching openly in the temple, and ye 
laid no hold upon me." But having once already answered this 
charge of Celsus, now again repeated, we shall content ourselves 
with what we have formerly said. We have answered, also, in 
the preceding pages, this objection, that " while he was in the 
body, and no one believed upon him, he preached to all w^ithout 
intermission; but when he might have produced a powerful 
belief in himself after rising from the dead, he showed himself 
secretly only to one woman, and to his own boon companions." ^ 
Now it is not true that He showed Himself only to one woman ; 
for it is stated in the Gospel according to Matthew, that " in the 
end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day 
of the week, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to 
see the sepulchre. And, behold, there had been a great earth- 
quake : for the angel of the Lord had descended from heaven, 
and come and rolled back the stone." ^ And, shortly after, 
Matthew adds: " And, behold, Jesus met them'^ — clearly mean- 
ing the afore-mentioned Marys — " saying, All hail. And they 
came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him." ^ And 
we answered, too, the charge, that " while undergoing his 
punishment he was seen by all, but after his resurrection only 
by one," when we offered our defence of the fact that " He was 
not seen by all." And now we might say that His merely 
human attributes were visible to all men, but those which were 
divine in their nature — I speak of the attributes not as related, 
but as distinct* — were not capable of being received by all. 
But observe here the manifest contradiction into which Celsus 
falls. For having said, a little before, that Jesus had appeared 
secretly to one woman and His own boon companions, he 
immediately subjoins : " While undergoing his punishment he 
was seen by all men, but after his resurrection by one, whereas 
the opposite ought to have happened." And let us hear what 
he means by " ought to have happened." The being seen by 

^ Tolg huvrov &ia,aura,i;. ^ Matt, xxviii. 1, 2. ^ Matt, xxviii. 9. 

■* T^kya Sg ov TTipi rco!/ apc^aiu 'Trpog 'inpex, sx^urav, dX'hci 'rspi rau koctu, 0/«- 


all men while undergoing His punishment, but after His 
resurrection only by one individual, are opposites.^ Now, 
so far as his language conveys a meaning, he would have that 
to take place which is both impossible and absurd, viz., that 
while undergoing His punishment He should be seen only 
by one individual, but after His resurrection by all men ! or 
else how will you explain his words, " The opposite ought to 
have happened ? " 

Chapter lxxi. 

Jesus taught us who it, was that sent Him, in the words, 
"None knoweth the Father but the Son;"^ and in these, 
" No man hath seen God at any time ; the only begotten Son, 
who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him."* 
He, treating of Deity, stated to His true disciples the doctrine 
regarding God ; and we, discovering traces of such teaching in 
the Scripture narratives, take occasion from such to aid our 
theological conceptions,* hearing it declared in one passage, that 
" God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all ;"^ and 
in another, " God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must 
worship Him in spirit and in truth." ^ But the purposes for 
which the Father sent Him are innumerable ; and these any 
one may ascertain who chooses, partly from the prophets who 
prophesied of Him, and partly from the narratives of the 
evangelists. And not a few things also will he learn from the 
apostles, and especially from Paul. Moreover, those who are 
pious He leadeth to the light, and those who sin He will 
punish, — a circumstance which Celsus not observing, has repre- 
sented Him " as one who will lead the pious to the light, and 
who will have mercy on others, whether they sin or repent."^ 

^ hxvriou TO /iisu KoT^x^ofisuou TirAaiv sapSiadxt, u.vcco'ra.yrot, Si nraaiv. The 
Benedictine editor reads lov (/,iu >co?^u^6f/,suot/, and Bohereau proposes kvav- 
Tiou ru Ko7\.ot^G/z£vov f^sv^ etc. 

2 Cf . Luke X. 22. « John i. 18. 

* m i'xv'/i iv roig yeypxfif^suois evpiaKOurss ci^op/<,oig 'i'^ofisv hoT^oysltf. 

e 1 John i. 5. e John iv. 24. 

'' The text is, tov; Ss xfcuprocuourug sj i^irxyvoyrug iT^ivjaav. Bohereau 
would read ^-/j (/.iTxyuourug^ or would render the passage as if the 
reading were ^ otiAxprxyoinxg^ ^ pcsroiyuomxg. This suggestion has been 
adopted in the translation. 


Chapter lxxii. 
After the above statements, he continues : " If he wished to 
remain hid, why was there heard a voice from heaven pro- 
claiming him to be the Son of God ? And if he did not seek 
to remain concealed, why was he punished? or why did he 
die?" Now, by such questions he thinks to convict the his- 
tories of discrepancy, not observing that Jesus neither desired 
all things regarding Himself to be known to all whom He hap- 
pened to meet, nor yet all things to be unknown. Accordingly, 
the voice from heaven which proclaimed Him to be the Son of 
God, in the words, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am 
well pleased,"^ is not stated to have been audible to the multi- 
tudes, as this Jew of Celsus supposed. The voice from the 
cloud on the high mountain, moreover, was heard only by those 
who had gone up with Him. For the divine voice is of such a 
nature, as to be heard only by those whom the speaker wishes 
to hear it. And I maintain, that the voice of God which is 
referred to, is neither air which has been struck, nor any con- 
cussion of the air, nor anything else which is mentioned in 
treatises on the voice ;^ and therefore it is heard by a better 
and more divine organ of hearing than that of sense. And 
wdien the speaker will not have his voice to be heard by all, he 
that has the finer ear hears the voice of God, while he who has 
the ears of his soul deadened does not perceive that it is God 
who speaks. These things I have mentioned because of his 
asking, " Why was there heard a voice from heaven proclaim- 
ing him to be the Son of God?" while with respect to the 
query, " Why was he punished, if he wished to remain hid ?" 
what has been stated at greater length in the preceding pages 
on the subject of His sufferings may suffice. 

Chapter lxxiii. 

The Jew proceeds, after this, to state as a consequence what 
does not follow from the premises ; for it does not follow from 
" His having wished, by the punishments which He underwent, 
to teach us also to despise death," that after His resurrection 

1 Matt. iii. 17. 

^ ovli'Tru 'hi Tiiyu, on oit 'KuuTug hrlu dvip -TriTrT^yiy/^isuos^ ^ 7r?i)2y^ dipogy 
ri ort TTors "Ktyireti iv rolg Tcipi Cpuurii' 


He should openly summon all men to the light, and instruct 
them in the object of His coming. For He had formerly sum- 
moned all men to the light in the words, " Come unto me, all 
ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." ^ 
And the object of His coming had been explained at great 
length in His discourses on the beatitudes, and in the announce- 
ments which followed them, and in the parables, and in His 
conversations with the scribes and Pharisees. And the instruc- 
tion afforded us by the Gospel of John, shows that the elo- 
quence of Jesus consisted not in words, but in deeds ; while it 
is manifest from the Gospel narratives that His speech was 
"with power," on which account also they marvelled at Him. 

Chapter lxxiv. 

In addition to all this, the Jew further says : " All these 
statements are taken from your own books, in addition to which 
we need no other witness ; for ye fall upon your own swords."^ 
Now we have proved that many foolish assertions, opposed to 
the narratives of our Gospels, occur in the statements of the 
Jew, either with respect to Jesus or ourselves. And I do not 
think that he has show^n that " we fall upon our own swords ;" 
but he only so imagines. And when the Jew adds, in a general 
way, this to his former remarks : " O most high and heavenly 
one ! what God, on appearing to men, is received with incre- 
dulity?" we must say to him, that according to the accounts in 
the law of Moses, God is related to have visited the Hebrews 
in a most public manner, not only in the signs and wonders 
performed in Egypt, and also in the passage of the Red Sea, 
and in the pillar of fire and cloud of light, but also when the 
Decalogue was announced to the whole people, and yet was 
received with incredulity by those who saw these things : 
for had they believed what they saw and heard, they would 
not have fashioned the calf, nor changed their own glory into 
the likeness of a grass-eating calf ; nor would they have said to 
one another with reference to the calf, " These be thy gods, 
O Israel, who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." ^ 
And observe whether it is not entirely in keeping with the 

1 Cf. Matt. xi. 28. 2 ^^^^j ^^^ iotvTolg TFiptviimri, 

^ Cf. Ex. xxxii. 4. 


character of the same people, who formerly refused to believe 
such wonders and such appearances of divinity, throughout 
the whole period of wandering in the wilderness, as they are 
recorded in the law of the Jews to have done, to refuse to be 
convinced also, on occasion of the glorious advent of Jesus, by 
the mighty words which were spoken by Him with authority, 
and the marvels which He performed in the presence of all the 

Chapter lxxv. 
I think what has been stated is enough to convince any one 
that the unbelief of the Jews with regard to Jesus was in 
keeping with what is related of this people from the beginning. 
For I would say in reply to this Jew of Celsus, when he asks, 
" What God that appeared among men is received with incre- 
dulity, and that, too, when appearing to those who expect him ? 
or why, pray, is he not recognised by those who have been 
long looking for him ? " what answer, friends, would you have 
us return to your ^ questions ? Which class of miracles, in your 
judgment, do you regard as the greater ? Those which were 
wrought in Egypt and the wilderness, or those which we declare 
that Jesus performed among you? For if the former are 
in your opinion greater than the latter, does it not appear 
from this very fact to be in conformity with the character of 
those who disbelieved the greater to despise the less? And 
this is the opinion entertained with respect to our accounts of 
the miracles of Jesus. But if those related of Jesus are con- 
sidered to be as great as those recorded of Moses, what strange 
thing has come to pass among a nation which has manifested 
incredulity with regard to the commencement of both dispensa- 
tions ? ^ For the beginning of the legislation was in the time 
of Moses, in whose work are recorded the sins of the unbe- 
lievers and wicked among you, while the commencement of our 
legislation and second covenant is admitted to have been in 
the time of Jesus. And by your unbelief of Jesus ye show 
that ye are the sons of those who in the desert discredited the 

1 The text reads iif^uv^ for which Bohereau and the Benedictine editor 
propose either vf^A^ or 7i{/>oig, the former of wliich is preferred by Lom- 

^ K»r eifA(poTipeis rdcg dp^o^S tcou '7rpay(Aoc.rav x'TTiarolJint. 


divine appearances ; and thus what was spoken by our Saviour 
will be applicable also to you who believed not on Him : 
"Therefore ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your 
fathers."^ And there is fulfilled among you also the prophecy 
which said : " Your life shall hang in doubt before your eyes, 
and you will have no assurance of your life." ^ For ye did not 
believe in the life which came to visit the human race. 

Chapter lxxvi. 

Celsus, in adopting the character of a Jew, could not dis- 
cover any objections to be urged against the gospel which might 
not be retorted on him as liable to be brought also against the 
law and the prophets. For he censures Jesus in such words as 
the following : " He makes use of threats, and reviles men on 
light grounds, when he says, ^ Woe unto you,' and ^ I tell you 
beforehand.' For by such expressions he manifestly acknow- 
ledges his inability to persuade; and this would not be the 
case with a God, or even a prudent man." Observe, now, 
whether these charges do not manifestly recoil upon the Jew. 
For in the writings of the law and the prophets God makes use 
of threats and revilings, when He employs language of not less 
severity than that found in the Gospel, such as the following 
expressions of Isaiah : " Woe unto them that join house to 
house, and lay field to field ; " ^ and, " Woe unto them that rise 
up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink ; " * 
and, ^' Woe unto them that draw their sins after them as with 
a long rope ; " ^ and, " Woe unto them that call evil good, and 
good evil ; " ^ and, " Woe unto those of you who are mighty to 
drink wine;"^ and innumerable other passages of the same 
kind. And does not the following resemble the threats of 
which he speaks : " Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with 
iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that are corrupters ? " ^ 
and so on, to which he subjoins such threats as are equal in 
severity to those which, he says, Jesus made use of. For is it 
not a threatening, and a great one, which declares, " Your 
country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire : your land, 

1 Cf. Luke xi. 48. 2 cf. Deut. xxviii. 66. ^ jga. v. 8. 

4 Isa. V. 11. « Isa. V. 18. « Isa. v. 20. 

7 Isa. v. 22. 8 Cf. Isa. i. 4. 

80 OniGEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book ii. 

strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as over- 
thrown by strangers ? " ^ And are there not revilings in 
Ezekiel directed against the people, when the Lord says to the 
prophet, " Thou dwellest in the midst of scorpions 1 " ^ Were 
you seriouSj then, Celsus, in representing the Jew as saying of 
Jesus, that "he makes use of threats and revilings on slight 
grounds, when he employs the expressions, ' Woe unto you,' 
and ' I tell you beforehand ? ' " Do you not see that the charges 
which this Jew of yours brings against Jesus might be brought 
by him against God ? For the God who speaks in the pro- 
phetic writings is manifestly liable to the same accusations, as 
Celsus regards them, of inability to persuade. I might, more- 
over, say to this Jew, who thinks that he makes a good charge 
against Jesus by such statements, that if he undertakes, in sup- 
port of the scriptural account, to defend the numerous curses 
recorded in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we should 
make as good, or better, a defence of the revilings and threaten- 
ings which are regarded as having been spoken by Jesus. And 
as respects the law of Moses itself, we are in a position to make 
a better defence of it than the Jew^ is, because w^e have been 
taught by Jesus to have a more intelligent apprehension of the 
writings of the law. Nay, if the Jew perceive the meaning of 
the prophetic Scriptures, he will be able to show that it is for 
no light reason that God employs threatenings and revilings, 
when He says, " Woe unto you," and " I tell you beforehand." 
And how should God employ such expressions for the conver- 
sion of men, which Celsus thinks that even a prudent man would 
not have recourse to? But Christians, who know only one God 
— the same who spoke in the prophets and in the Lord [Jesus] 
— can prove the reasonableness of those threatenings and revil- 
ings, as Celsus considers and entitles them. And here a few 
remarks shall be addressed to this Celsus, who professes both 
to be a philosopher, and to be acquainted w^ith all our system. 
How is it, friend, when Hermes, in Homer, says to Odysseus, 

" Why, now, wretched man, do you come wandering alone 
over the mountain-tops ? " ^ 

that you are satisfied with the answer, which explains that the 
1 Isa. i. 7. 2 Ezek. ii. 6. 3 Cf. Odyss. x. 281. 


Homeric Hermes addresses such language to Odysseus to remind 
him of his duty/ because it is characteristic of the Sirens to 
flatter and to say pleasing things, around whom 

" Is a huge heap of bones," ^ 
and who say, 

" Come hither, much lauded Odysseus, great glory of the Greeks ; " 3 

whereas, if our prophets and Jesus Himself, in order to turn 
their hearers from evil, make use of such expressions as ^^ Woe 
unto you," and what you regard as revilings, there is no con- 
descension in such language to the circumstances of the hearers, 
nor any application of such words to them as healing^ medicine? 
Unless, indeed, you would have God, or one who partakes of 
the divine nature, when conversing with men, to have regard to 
His own nature alone, and to what is w^orthy of Himself, but 
to have no regard to what is fitting to be brought before men 
who are under the dispensation and leading of His word, and 
with each one of whom He is to converse agreeably to his indi- 
vidual character. And is it not a ridiculous assertion recrard- 


ing Jesus, to say that He was unable to persuade men, when 
you compare the state of matters not only among the Jews, 
who have many such instances recorded in the prophecies, but 
also among the Greeks, among whom all of those who have 
attained great reputation for their wisdom have been unable to 
persuade those who conspired against them, or to induce their 
judges or accusers to cease from evil, and to endeavour to attain 
to virtue by the way of philosophy ? 

Chapter lxxvii. 

After this the Jew remarks, manifestly in accordance with 
the Jewish belief : " We certainly hope that there will be a 
bodily resurrection, and that we shall enjoy an eternal life ; 
and the example and archetype of this will be He who is 
sent to us, and who will show that nothing is impossible with 
God." We do not know, indeed, whether the Jew would say 
of the expected Christ, that He exhibits in Himself an example 
of the resurrection ; but let it be supposed that he both thinks 

^ vTrep i'7iri(xrpQ(pvig, 2 Q{^ Odyss. xii. 45. 

3 Ihid. xii. 184. * xotiuutou <pxp{4.»K(iv. 

ORIG. — VOL. II. * F 

82 OniGEN AGAINST GELS US. [Book ii. 

and says so. We shall give this answer, then, to him who has 
told us that he drew his information from our own writings : 
"Did you read those writings, friend, in which you think you 
discover matter of accusation against us, and not find there the 
resurrection of Jesus, and the declaration that He was the first- 
born from the dead ? Or because you will not allow such things 
to have been recorded, were they not actually recorded?" But 
as the Jew still admits the resurrection of the body, I do not 
consider the present a suitable time to discuss the subject with 
one who both believes and says that there is a bodily resurrec- 
tion, whether he has an articulate^ understanding of such a 
topic, and is able to plead well on its behalf,^ or not, but has 
only given his assent to it as being of a legendary character.^ 
Let the above, then, be our reply to this Jew of Celsus. And 
when he adds, " Where, then, is he, that we may see him and 
believe upon him? " we answer : Where is He now who spoke 
in the prophecies, and who wTought miracles, that w^e may see 
and believe that He is part of God ? Are you to be allowed to 
meet the objection, that God does not perpetually show^ Him- 
self to the Hebrew nation, while we are not to be permitted the 
same defence with regard to Jesus, who has both once risen 
Himself, and led His disciples to believe in His resurrection, 
and so thoroughly persuaded them of its truth, that they show- 
to all men by their sufferings how they are able to laugh at all 
the troubles of life, beholding the life eternal and the resur- 
rection clearly demonstrated to them both in word and deed ? 

Chapter lxxviii. 

The Jew continues : '^ Did Jesus come into the world for 
this purpose, that we should not believe him ? " To which we 
immediately answer, that He did not conie with the object of 
producing incredulity among the Jews ; but know^ing before- 
hand that such would be the result, He foretold it, and made 
use of their unbelief for the calling of the Gentiles. For 
through their sin salvation 'came to the Gentiles, respecting 
whom the Christ who speaks in the prophecies says, " A people 

^ i7r£ 'hiocp&povvrct, ro roiovrou 'Trap £ocvt$. 

^ x.(X,l "hvucc/xsvou TTpia^ivacci 'TTipi rov Xoyov kci7\.us, 

* otTTflt f<>v9i>cci)rspov av/KeCTCATiOifiiuou ra T^^oyu. 


whom I did not know became subject to me : they were obedient 
to the hearing of my ear ; " ^ and, " I was found of them who 
sought me not ; I became manifest to those who inquired not 
after me." ^ It is certain, moreover, that the Jews were punished 
even in this present hfe, after treating Jesus in the manner in 
which they did. And let the Jews assert what they will when 
we charge them with guilt, and say, ^^ Is not the providence and 
goodness of God most wonderfully displayed in your punish- 
ment, and in your being deprived of Jerusalem, and of the 
sanctuary, and of your splendid w^orship ? " For whatever they 
may say in reply with respect to the providence of God, we 
shall be able more effectually to answer it by remarking, that 
the providence of God was wonderfully manifested in using the . 
transgression of that people for the purpose of calling into the 
kingdom of God, through Jesus Christ, those from among the 
Gentiles who were strangers to the covenant and aliens to the 
promises. And these things were foretold by the prophets, who 
said that, on account of the transgressions of the Hebrew nation, 
God would make choice, not of a nation, but of individuals 
chosen from all lands ; ^ and, having selected the foolish things 
of the world, would cause an ignorant nation to become ac- 
quainted with the divine teaching, the kingdom of God being 
taken from the one and given to the other. And out of a 
larger number it is sufficient on the present occasion to adduce 
the prediction from the song in Deuteronomy regarding the 
calling of the Gentiles, which is as follows, being spoken in 
the person of the Lord : " They have moved me to jealousy 
with those who are not gods ; they have provoked me to anger 
with their idols : and I will move them to jealousy with those 
who are not a people ; I will provoke them to anger with a 
foolish nation."* 

Chapter lxxix. 

The conclusion of all these arguments regarding Jestis is thus 
stated by the Jew : '' He w^as therefore a man, and of such a 
nature, as the truth itself proves, and reason demonstrates him 
to be." I do not know, however, whether a man who had the 
courage to spread throughout the entire world his doctrine of 

1 Cf. 2 Sam. xxii. 44, 45. 2 cf. Isa. Ixv. 1. 

* ovxt i&yos^ oi'hT^a. "hayxbug '7ra,VTc(,xo6iv. "* Cf. Deut. xxxii. 21. 


religious worship and teaching,^ could accomplish what he 
wished without the divine assistance, and could rise superior to 
all who withstood the progress of his doctrine — kings and rulers, 
and the Roman senate, and governors in all places, and the 
common people. And how could the nature of a man possessed 
of no inherent excellence convert so vast a multitude % For it 
would not be wonderful if it were only the wise who were so con- 
verted ; but it is the most irrational of men, and those devoted 
to their passions, and who, by reason of their irrationality, 
change with the greater difficulty so as to adopt a more tem- 
perate course of life. And yet it is because Christ was the 
power of God and the wisdom of the Father that He accom- 
plished, and still accomplishes, such results, although neither 
the Jews nor Greeks who disbelieve His word will so admit. 
And therefore w^e shall not cease to believe in God, according 
to the precepts of Jesus Christ, and to seek to convert those 
w^ho are blind on the subject of religion, although it is they who 
are truly blind themselves that charge us with blindness : and 
they, whether Jews or Greeks, who lead astray those that follow 
them, accuse us of seducing men — a good seduction, truly ! — 
that they may become temperate instead of dissolute, or at least 
may make advances to temperance ; may become just instead of 
unjust, or at least may tend to become so ; prudent instead of 
foolish, or be on the way to become such ; and instead of cowar- 
dice, meanness, and timidity, may exhibit the virtues of fortitude 
and courage, especially displayed in the struggles undergone for 
the sake of their religion towards God, the Creator of all things. 
Jesus Christ therefore came announced beforehand, not by 
one prophet, but by all ; and it was a proof of the ignorance of 
Celsus, to represent a Jew as saying that one prophet only had 
predicted the advent of Christ. But as this Jew of Celsus, 
after being thus introduced, asserting that these things were 
indeed in conformity with his own law, has somewhere here 
ended his discourse, with a mention of other matters not worthy 
of remembrance, I too shall here terminate this second book of 
my answer to his treatise. But if God permit, and the power 
of Christ abide in my soul, I shall endeavour in the third book 
to deal with the subsequent statements of Celsus. 

Chapter i. 

N the first book of our answer to the work of Celsus, 
who had boastfully entitled the treatise which he 
had composed against us A True Discourse, we have 
gone through, as you enjoined, my faithful Am- 
brosius, to the best of our ability, his preface, and the parts 
immediately following it, testing each one of his assertions as 
we went along, until we finished with the tirade^ of this Jew 
of his, feigned to have been delivered against Jesus. And in 
the second book we met, as we best could, all the charges con- 
tained in the invective^ of the said Jew, which were levelled at 
us who are believers in God through Christ ; and now we enter 
upon this third division of our discourse, in which our object is 
to refute the allegations which he makes in his own person. 

He gives it as his opinion, that " the controversy between 
Jews and Christians is a most foolish one," and asserts that 
" the discussions which we have with each other regarding 
Christ differ in no respect from what is called in the proverb 
' a fight about the shadow of an ass ;' " ^ and thinks that 
" there is nothing of importance^ in the investigations of the 
Jews and Christians : for both believe that it was predicted by 
the Divine Spirit that one was to come as a Saviour to the 
human race, but do not yet agree on the point whether the 
person predicted has actually come or not." For we Christians, 
indeed, have believed in Jesus, as He who came according to 
the predictions of the prophets. But the majority of the Jews 

1 'h'/itA.riyopia, ; cf. book i. c. 71. 

^ Kura. rvi'j 'TTctpoifA.iocu x.ce7\.ovfisvyig oi/ou aKioc; ^uy^n;. On this proverb, 
see Zenobius, Centuria Sexta, adag. 28, and the note of Schottius. Cf. also 
Suidas, s.v. ovov ayJu. — De LA RuE. 



are so far from believing in Him, that those of them who lived 
at the time of His coming conspired against Him ; and those 
of the present day, approving of what the Jews of former 
times dared to do against Him, speak evil of Him, asserting 
that it was by means of sorcery^ that he passed himself off for 
Him who was predicted by the prophets as the One who was to 
come, and who was called, agreeably to the traditions of the 
Jews,^ the Christ. 


But let Celsus, and those who assent to his charges, tell us 
whether it is at all ■ like " an ass's shadow," that the Jewish 
prophets should have predicted the birth-place of Him who was 
to be the ruler of those who had lived righteous lives, and who 
are called the " heritage" of God ;^ and that Emmanuel should be 
conceived by a virgin ; and that such signs and wonders should 
be performed by Him who was the subject of prophecy; and that 
His word should have such speedy course, that the voice of His 
apostles should go forth into all the earth ; and that He should 
undergo certain sufferings after His condemnation by the Jews ; 
and that He should rise again from the dead. For was it 
by chance* that the prophets made these announcements, with 
no persuasion of their truth in their minds,^ moving them not 
only to speak, but to deem their announcements worthy of 
being committed to writing? And did so great a nation as 
that of the Jews, who had long ago received a country of 
their own w^herein to dwell, recognise certain men as prophets, 
and reject others as utterers of false predictions, without any 
conviction of the soundness of the distinction?^ And was 
there no motive which induced them to class with the books of 
Moses, which were held as 'sacred, the words of those persons 
who were afterwards deemed to be prophets ? And can those 
who charge the Jews and Christians with folly, show us how the 
Jewish nation could have continued to subsist, had there existed 
among them no promise of the knowledge of future events ? 
and how, while each of the surrounding nations believed, 

•'• 'hicc rtitog yoYjTSixs. ^ kutoc. roc ' lov'^ociuu TruTptet. 

* upcc yoip ag 'irv^i. ^ avv ovhif^ioi '7:i&ci.u6rYi7t, 


agreeably to their ancient institutions, that they received oracles 
and predictions from those whom they accounted gods, this 
people alone, who were taught to view with contempt all those 
who were considered gods by the heathen, as not being gods, 
but demons, according to the declaration of the prophets, '' For 
all the gods of the nations are demons,"^ had among theij. no 
one who professed to be a prophet, and who could restrain 
such as, from a desire to know the future, were ready to desert^ 
to the demons^ of other nations? Judge, then, whether it 
were not a necessity, that as the whole nation had been taught 
to despise the deities of other lands, they should have had an 
abundance of prophets, who made known events which were of 
far greater importance in themselves,^ and which surpassed 
the oracles of all other countries. 

Chapter hi. 

In the next place, miracles were performed in all countries, 
or at least in many of them, as Celsus himself admits, in- 
stancing the case of Esculapius, who conferred benefits on 
many, and who foretold future events to entire cities, which 
were dedicated to him, suph as Tricca, and Epidaurus, and 
Cos, and Pergamus ; and along with Esculapius he mentions 
Aristeas of Proconnesus, and a certain Clazomenian, and 
Cleomedes of Astypalaea. But among the Jews alone, who say 
they are dedicated to the God of all things, there was wrought 
no miracle or sign which might help to confirm their faith in 
the Creator of all things, and strengthen their hope of another 
and better life ! But how can they imagine such a state of 
things ? For they would immediately have gone over to the 
worship • of those demons which gave oracles and performed 
cures, and deserted the God who was believed, as far as words 
went,* to assist them, but who never manifested to them His 

^ Ps. xcvi. 5, '^ocifcouix ; "idols," Auth. Vers. We have in this passage, 
and in many others, the identification of the ^ccly.ovtg or gods of the heathen 
■with the "hxifcousg or Zocif^outocy " evil spirits," or angels, supposed to be 
mentioned in Gen. vi. 2. 

2 The reading in the text is (x,vrofAo>.€iy^ on which Bohereau, with whom 
the Benedictine editor agrees, remarks that we must either read ayTo^oA;j- 
aovTocg, or understand some such word as kroi'fcovs before oe,vTo,u,Q7^slv, 


visible presence. But if this result has not taken place, and 
if, on the contrary, they have suffered countless calamities 
rather than renounce Judaism and their law, and have been 
cruelly treated, at one time in Assyria, at another in Persia, 
and at another under Antiochus, is it not in keeping with the 
probabilities of the case^ for those to suppose who do not yield 
their belief to their miraculous histories and prophecies, that 
the events in question could not be inventions, but that a 
certain divine Spirit being in the holy souls of the prophets, as 
of men who underwent any labour for the cause of virtue, did 
move them to proj^hesy some things relating to their contempo- 
raries, and others to their posterity, but chiefly regarding a cer- 
tain personage who was to come as a Saviour to the human race? 

Chapter iv. 

And if the above be the state of the case, how do Jews and 
Christians search after " the shadow of an ass " in seekincr to 
ascertain from those prophecies which they believe in common, 
whether He who was foretold has come, or has not yet arrived, 
and is still an object of expectation? But even suppose^ it be 
granted to Celsus that it was not Jesus who was announced bv 
the prophets, then, even on such a hypothesis, the investigation 
of the sense of the prophetic writings is no search after *^ the 
shadow of an ass," if he who was spoken of can be clearly 
pointed out, and it can be shown both what sort of person he 
was predicted to be, and what he was to do, and, if possible, 
when he was to arrive. But in the preceding pages we have 
already spoken on the point of Jesus being the individual who 
was foretold to be the Christ, quoting a few prophecies out of 
a larger number. Neither Jews nor Christians, then, are 
wrong in assuming that the prophets spoke under divine in- 
fluence ;^ but they are in error who form erroneous opinions 
respecting Him who was expected by the prophets to come, and 
whose person and character were made known in their " true 

Chapter v. 

Immediately after these points, Celsus, imagining that the 

2 KUO'' VTToSiaiV. ^ di66iV. 


Jews are Egyptians by descent, and had abandoned Egypt, after 
revolting against the Egyptian state, and despising the customs of 
that people in matters of worship, says that '' they suffered from 
the adherents of Jesus, who believed in Him as the Christ, the 
same treatment which they had inflicted upon the Egyptians ; 
and that the cause which led to the new state of things^ in 
either instance was rebellion against the state." Now let us 
observe what Celsus has here done. The ancient Egyptians, 
after inflicting many cruelties upon the Hebrew race, who had 
settled in Egypt owing to a famine which had broken out in 
Judea, suffered, in consequence of their injustice to strangers 
and suppliants, that punishment which divine Providence had 
decreed w^as to fall on the whole nation for havino; combined 
against an entire people, who had been their guests, and who had 
done them no harm ; and after being smitten by plagues from 
God, they allowed them, with difficulty, and after a brief period, 
to go wherever they liked, as being unjustly detained in slavery. 
Because, then, they were a selfish people, who honoured those 
who were in any degree related to them far more than they did 
strangers of better lives, there is not an accusation which they 
have omitted to brino; a^jainst Moses and the Hebrews, — not alto- 
gether denying, indeed, the miracles and wonders done by him, 
but alleging that they were wrought by sorcery, and not by 
divine power. Moses, however, not as a magician, but as a 
devout man, and one devoted to the God of all things, and a 
partaker in the divine Spirit, both enacted laws for the Hebrews, 
according to the suggestions of the Divinity, and recorded events 
as they happened with perfect fidelity. 

Chapter vi. 

Celsus, therefore, not investigating in a spirit of impartiality 
th2 facts, which are related by the Egyptians in one way, and 
by the Hebrews in another, but being bewitched, as it were,^ 
in favour of the former, accepted as true the statements of 
those who had oppressed the strangers, and declared that the 
Hebrews, who had been unjustly treated, had departed from 
Egypt after revolting against the Egyptians, — not observing how 

^ UpoKOiTocTiyi^pdilg a; vtto (pl'Krpuv ruv AiyvTrriaif, 


impossible it was for so great a multitude of rebellious Egyp- 
tians to become a nation, which, dating its origin from the 
said revolt, should change its language at the time of its rebel- 
lion, so that those who up to that time made use of the 
Egyptian tongue, should completely adopt, all at once, the 
language of the Hebrews! Let it be granted, however, 
according to his supposition, that on abandoning Egypt they 
did conceive a hatred also of their mother tongue,^ how did it 
happen that after so doing they did not rather adopt the 
Syrian or Phoenician language, instead of preferring the 
Hebrew, which is different from both ? But reason seems to 
me to demonstrate that the statement is false, which makes 
those who were Egyptians by race to have revolted against 
Egyptians, and to have left the country, and to have proceeded 
to Palestine, and occupied the land now called Judea. For 
Hebrew was the language of their fathers before their descent 
into Egypt ; and the Hebrew letters, employed by Moses in 
writing those five books which are deemed sacred by the Jews, 
were different from those of the Egyptians. 

Chapter vii. 

In like manner, as the statement is false " that the Hebrews, 
being [originally] Egyptians, dated the commencement [of 
their political existence] from the time of their rebellion," so 
also is this, " that in the days of Jesus others who were Jews 
rebelled against the Jewish state, and became His followers ;" 
for neither Celsus nor they who' think with him are able to 
point out any act on the part of Christians which savours of 
rebellion. And yet, if a revolt had led to the formation of the 
Christian commonwealth, so that it derived its existence in this 
way from that of the Jews, who were permitted to take up arms 
in defence of the members of their families, and to slay their 
enemies, the Christian Lawgiver would not have altogether for- 
bidden the putting of men to death ; and yet He nowhere 
teaches that it is right for His own disciples to offer violence to 
any one, however wicked. For He did not deem it in keeping 
with such laws as His, which were derived from a divine source, 
to allow the killing of any individual whatever. Nor would 


the Christians, had they owed their origin to a rebellion, have 
adopted laws of so exceedingly mild a character as not to 
allow them, when it was their fate to be slain as sheep, on any 
occasion to resist their persecutors. And truly, if we look a 
little deeper into things, we may say regarding the exodus from 
Egypt, that it is a miracle if a whole nation at once adopted the 
language called Hebrew, as if it had been a gift from heaven, 
when one of their own prophets said, ^^As they went forth 
from Egypt, they heard a language which they did not under- 

Chapter viii. 

In the following way, also, we may conclude that they who 
came out of Egypt with Moses were not Egyptians ; for if they 
had been Egyptians, their names also would be Egyptian, 
because in every language the designations [of persons and 
things] are kindred to the language.^ But if it is certain, from 
the names being Hebrew, that the people were not Egyptians, — 
and the Scriptures are full of Hebrew names, and these be- 
stowed, too, upon their children while they were in Egypt, — it 
is clear that the Egyptian account is false, which asserts that 
they were Egyptians, and went forth from Egypt with Moses. 
Now it is absolutely certain ^ that, being descended, as the 
Mosaic history records, from Hebrew ancestors, they employed 
a language from which they also took the names which they 
conferred upon their children. But with regard to the Chris- 
tians, because they were taught not to avenge themselves 
ipon their enemies (and have thus observed laws of a mild and 
philanthropic character) ; and because they would not, although 
able, have made war even if they had received authority to do 
so, — they have obtained this reward from God, that He has 
always warred in their behalf, and on certain occasions has 
restrained those who rose up against them and desired to 
destroy them. For in order to remind others, thart by seeing a 
few engaged in a struggle for their religion, they also might be 
better fitted to despise death, some, on special occasions, and 
these individuals who can be easily numbered, have endured 
death for the sake of Christianity, — God not permitting the 

^ Cf. Ps. Ixxxi. 5. ^ 'Svyysuslg £h{u ai 'TTpoaYiyopieci. ^ '2u(pus hctpysg- 


whole nation to be exterminated, but desiring that it should 
continue, and that the whole world should be filled with this 
salutary and religious doctrine. And again, on the other hand, 
that those who were of weaker minds might recover their 
courage and rise superior to the thought of death, God inter- 
posed His providence on behalf of believers, dispersing by an 
act of His w^ill alone all the conspiracies formed against them ; 
so that neither kings, nor rulers, nor the populace, might be 
able to rage against them beyond a certain point. Such, then, 
is our answer to the assertions of Celsus, " that a revolt w as 
the original commencement of the ancient Jewish state, and 
subsequently of Christianity." 

Chapter ix. 

But since he is manifestly guilty of falsehood in the state- 
ments which follow, let us examine his assertion when he says, 
" If all men wished to become Christians, the latter would not 
desire such a result." Now that the above statement is false 
is clear from this, that Christians do not neglect, as far as 
in them lies, to take measures to disseminate their doctrine 
throughout the whole world. Some of them, accordingly, have 
made it their business to itinerate not only through cities, but 
even villages and country houser.,^ that they might make con- 
verts to God, And no one would maintain that they did this 
for the sake of gain, when sometimes they would not accept 
even necessary sustenance ; or if at any time they were pressed 
by a necessity of this sort, were contented with the mere supply 
of their wants, although many were willing to share [their 
abundance] with them, and to bestow help upon them far above 
their need. At the present day, indeed, when, owing to the 
multitude of Christian believers, not only rich men, but persons 
of rank, and delicate and high-born ladies, receive the teachers 
of Christianity, some perhaps will dare to say that it is for the 
sake of a little glory ^ that certain individuals assume the office 
of Christian instructors. It is impossible, however, rationally 
to entertain such a suspicion with respect to Christianity in 
its beginnings, when the danger incurred, especially by its 
teachers, was great ; while at the present day the discredit 


attaching to it among the rest of mankind is greater than any 
supposed honour enjoyed among tliose who hold the same 
belief, especially when such honour is not shared by all. It is 
false, then, from the very nature of the case, to say that " if 
all men wished to become Christians, the latter would not 
desire such a result." 

Chapter x. 

But observe what he alleges as a proof of his statement : 
" Christians at first were few in number, and held the same 
opinions; but when they grew to be a great multitude, they 
were divided and separated, each wishing to have his own 
individual party -^ for this was their object from the beginning." 
That Christians at first were few in number, in comparison 
with the multitudes who subsequently became Christian, is un- 
doubted ; and yet, all things considered, they were not so very 
few.^ For what stirred up the envy of the Jews against Jesus, 
and aroused them to conspire against Him, was the great 
number of those who followed Him into the wilderness, — five 
thousand men on one occasion, and four thousand on another, 
having attended Him thither, without including the women and 
children. For such was the charm ^ of Jesus' words, that not 
only were men willing to follow Him to the wilderness, but 
women also, forgetting ^ the weakness of their sex and a regard 
for outward propriety^ in thus following their Teacher into 
desert places. Children, too, who are altogether unaffected 
by such emotions,^ either following their parents, or perhaps 
attracted also by His divinity, in order that it might be im- 
planted within them, became His followers along with their 
parents. But let it be granted that Christians were few in 
number at the beginning, how does that help to prove that 
Christians would be unwilling to make all men believe the doc- 
trine of the gospel ? 

■* The reading in Spencer's and the Benedictine edition is {/'jron^yoi^ivuiy 
for which Lommatzsch reads vivo^i^vyii^ivcx.i. 


Chapter xi. 

He says, in addition, that " all the Christians were of one 
mind," not observiog, even in this particular, that from the 
beginning there were differences of opinion among believers 
regarding the meaning -^ of the books held to be divine. At all 
events, while the apostles were still preaching, and while eye- 
witnesses of [the works of] Jesus were still teaching His doc- 
trine, there was no small discussion among the converts from 
Judaism regarding Gentile believers, on the point whether they 
ought to observe Jewish customs, or should reject the burden 
of clean and unclean meats, as not being obligatory on those 
who had abandoned their ancestral Gentile customs, and had 
become believers in Jesus. Nay, even in the epistles of Paul, 
who was contemporary with those who had seen Jesus, certain 
particulars are found mentioned as having been the subject of 
dispute, — viz. respecting the resurrection,^ and whether it were 
already past, and the day of the Lord, whether it were nigh at 
hand ^ or not. Nay, the very exhortation to " avoid profane 
and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called : 
which some professing, have erred concerning the faith," * is 
enough to show that from the very beginning, when, as Celsus 
imagines, believers were few in number, there were certain doc- 
trines interpreted in different ways.^ 

Chapter xii. 

In the next place, since he reproaches us with the existence 
of heresies in Christianity as being a ground of accusation 
against it, saying that " when Christians had greatly increased 
in numbers, they were divided and split up into factions, each 
individual desiring to have his own party ; " and further, that 
" being thus separated through their numbers, they confute 
one another, still having, so to speak, one name in common, if 
indeed they still retain it. And this is the only thing which 
they are yet ashamed to abandon, while other matters are 
determined in different ways by the various sects." In reply 
to which, we say that heresies of different kinds have never 

1 'I^kIo^c^u. 2 Qi 1 Cor. XV. 12 sqq. ^ cf. 2 Thess. ii. 2. 

^^t. 1 Tim. vi. 20, ^ Ttves '^oi.i. 


originated from any matter in which the principle involved 
was not important and beneficial to human life. For since the 
science of medicine is useful and necessary to the human race, 
and many are the points of dispute in it respecting the manner 
of curing bodies, there are found, for this reason, numerous 
heresies confessedly prevailing in the science of medicine among 
the Greeks, and also, I suppose, among those barbarous nations 
who profess to employ medicine. And, again, since philosophy 
makes a profession of the truth, and promises a knowledge of 
existing things with a view to the regulation of life, and 
endeavours to teach what is advantageous to our race, and since 
the investigation of these matters is attended with great differ- 
ences of opinion,^ innumerable heresies have consequently 
sprung up in philosophy, some of which are more celebrated 
than others. Even Judaism itself afforded a pretext for the 
origination of heresies, in the different acceptation accorded to 
the writings of Moses and those of the prophets. So, then, 
seeing Christianity appeared an object of veneration to men, 
not to the more servile class alone, as Celsus supposes, but to 
many among the Greeks who were devoted to literary pursuits,^ 
there necessarily originated heresies, — not at all, however, as the 
result of faction and strife, but through" the earnest desire of 
many literary men to become acquainted with the doctrines of 
Christianity. The consequence of which was, that, taking in 
different acceptations those discourses which were believed by 
all to be divine, there arose heresies, which received their names 
from those individuals who admired, indeed, the origin of 
Christianity, but who were led, in some way or other, by certain 
plausible reasons, to discordant views. And yet no one would 
act rationally in avoiding medicine because of its heresies ; nor 
would he who aimed at that which is seemly^ entertain a hatred 
of philosophy, and adduce its many heresies as a pretext for his 
antipathy. And so neither are the sacred books of Moses and 
the prophets to be condemned on account of the heresies in 

Chapter xiii. 
Now, if these arguments hold good, why should we not 


defend, in the same way, the existence of heresies in Chris- 
tianity ? And respecting these, Paul appears to me to speak 
in a very striking manner when he says, '' For there must be 
heresies among you, that they who are approved may be made 
manifest among you." ^ For as that man is "approved" in medi- 
cine who, on account of his experience in various [medical] 
heresies, and his honest examination of the majority of them, 
has selected the preferable system, — and as the great proficient 
in philosophy is he who, after acquainting himself experimen- 
tally with the various views, has given in his adhesion to the 
best, — so I would say that the wisest Christian was he who had 
carefully studied the heresies both of Judaism and Christianity. 
Whereas he who finds fault with Christianity because of its 
heresies would find fault also with the teaching of Socrates, 
from whose school have issued many others of discordant views. 
Nay, the opinions of Plato might be chargeable wath error, on 
account of Aristotle's having separated from his school, and 
founded a new one, — on which subject we have remarked in the 
preceding book. But it appears to me that Celsus has become 
acquainted with certain heresies which do not possess even the 
name of Jesus in common with us. Perhaps he had heard of 
the sects called Ophites and Cainites, or some others of a 
similar nature, which had departed in all points from the 
teaching of Jesus. And yet surely this furnishes no ground 
for a charge against the Christian doctrine. 

Chapter xiv. 

After this he continues : " Their union is the more wonderful, 
the more it can be shown to be based on no substantial reason. 
And yet rebellion is a substantial reason, as well as the advan- 
tages which accrue from it, and the fear of external enemies. 
Such are the causes which give stability to their faith." To 
this we answer, that our union does thus rest upon a reason, or 
rather not upon a reason, but upon the divine working,^ so that 
its commencement was God's teaching men, in the prophetical 
writings, to expect the advent of Christ, who was to be the 
Saviour of mankind. For in so far as this point is not really 
refuted (although it may seem to be by unbelievers), in the 
^ 1 Cor. xi. 19. ^ 6iius hepyeixg' 


same proportion is the doctrine commended as the doctrine of 
God, and Jesus shown to be the Son of God both before and 
after His incarnation. I maintain, moreover, that even after 
His incarnation, He is always found by those who possess the 
acutest spiritual vision to be most God-like, and to have really 
come down to us from God, and to have derived His origin or 
subsequent development not from human wisdom, but from 
the manifestation^ of God within Him, who by His manifold 
wisdom and miracles established Judaism first, and Christianity 
afterwards ; and the assertion that rebellion, and the advantages 
attending it, were the originating causes of a doctrine which has 
converted and improved so many men was effectually refuted. 

Chapter xv. 

But again, that it is not the fear of external enemies which 
strengthens our union, is plain from the fact that this cause, 
by God's will, has already, for a considerable time, ceased to 
exist. And it is probable that the secure existence, so far as 
regards the world, enjoyed by believers at present, will come 
to an end, since those who calumniate Christianity in every 
way are again attributing the present frequency of rebellion to 
the multitude of believers, and to their not being persecuted by 
the authorities as in old times. For we have learned from the 
gospel neither to relax our efforts in days of peace, and^to give 
ourselves up to repose, nor, when the world makes war upon 
us, to become cowards, and apostatize from the love of the God 
of all things which is in Jesus Christ. And we clearly mani- 
fest the illustrious nature of our origin, and do not (as Celsus 
imagines) conceal it, when we impress upon the minds of our 
first converts a contempt for idols, and images of all kinds, and, 
besides this, raise their thoughts from the worship of created 
things instead of God, and elevate them to the universal Creator; 
clearly showing Him to be the subject of prophecy, both from 
the predictions regarding Him — of which there are many — and 
from those traditions which have been carefully investigated by 
such as are able intelligently to understand the Gospels, and 
the declarations of the apostles. 

ORIG. — VOL. 11. a 


Chapter xvi. 

'^ But what the legends are of every kind which we gather 
together, or the terrors which we invent," as Celsus without 
proof asserts, he who hkes may show. I know not, indeed, 
what he means by " inventing terrors," unless it be our doctrine of 
God as Judge, and of the condemnation of men for their deeds, 
with the various proofs derived partly from Scripture, partly 
from probable reason. And yet — for truth is precious — Celsus 
says, at the close, " Forbid that either I, or these, or any other 
individual should ever reject the doctrine respecting the future 
punishment of the wicked and the reward of the good !" What 
terrors, then, if you except the doctrine of punishment, do we 
invent and impose upon mankind? And if he should reply 
that " we weave together erroneous opinions drawn from 
ancient sources, and trumpet them aloud, and sound them be- 
fore men, as the priests of Cybele clash their cymbals in the 
ears of those who are being initiated in their mysteries ; " ^ we 
shall ask him in reply, " Erroneous opinions from what ancient 
sources?" For, whether he refers to Grecian accounts, which 
taught the existence of courts of justice under the earth, or 
Jewish, which, among other things, predicted the life that follows 
the present one ; he will be unable to show that we who, striving 
to believe on grounds of reason, regulate our lives in conformity 
with such doctrines, have failed correctly to ascertain the truth .^ 

Chapter xvii. 

He wishes, indeed, to compare the articles of our faith to 
those of the Egyptians ; " among whom, as you approach their 
sacred edifices, are to be seen splendid enclosures, and groves, 
and large and beautiful gateways,^ and wonderful temples, and 
magnificent tents around them, and ceremonies of worship full 
of superstition and mystery ; but when you have entered, and 

•^ Toi TQu TTotTiCCiov hoyov 'TTce.pu.Koiai/.ccrcx. avfAz-T^Krroung., rovTOig 'Trpocct- 
rxvTiOVf^s'j Kod '7rpo3ccic,rv}x,ov/^£u rovg dv^puTrovg' ug ol rovg Kopv^uvn^o/^suovg 


^ oitx, oiu 'i^oi "Trctpotarrjaui, on 7]f^s7g f^lu h 'Tta.pctKway^ ysvo/asuot r^g «A>7- 
Siiug, oaot ys 'Trsipu/^isda /xsroi T^oyov 'Trtarsvsiu^ ^rpog rx rotcxXirot, ^uf<.sv Zoy^ocTot. 
* TrpoTrvTiotiuu fiiykQn rs x,»l ;6«XA>j. 


passed within, the object of worship is seen to be a cat, or an 
ape, or a crocodile, or a goat, or a dog ! " Now, what is the 
resemblance ^ between us and the splendours of Egyptian wor- 
ship which are seen by those who draw near their temples? 
And where is the resemblance to those irrational animals which 
are worshipped within, after you pass through the splendid 
gateways ? Are our prophecies, and the God of all things, and 
the injunctions against images, objects of reverence in the view 
of Celsus also, and Jesus Christ crucified, the analogue to the 
worship of the irrational animal ? But if he should assert this 
— and I do not think that he will maintain anything else — we 
shall reply that we have spoken in the preceding pages at 
greater length in defence of those charges affecting Jesus, 
showing that what appeared to have happened to Him in the 
capacity of His human nature, was fraught with benefit to all 
men, and with salvation to the whole world. 

Chapter xviii. 

In the next place, referring to the statements of the Egyp- 
tians, who talk loftily about irrational animals, and who assert 
that they are a sort of symbols of God, or anything else which 
their prophets, so termed, are accustomed to call them, Celsus 
says that " an impression is produced in the minds of those 
who have learned these things ; that they have not been ini- 
tiated in vain ; " ^ while with regard to the truths which are 
taught in our writings to those who have made progress in the 
study of Christianity (through that which is called by Paul the 
gift consisting in the "word of wisdom" through the Spirit, 
and in the " word of knowledge " according to the Spirit), Celsus 
does not seem even to have formed an idea,^ judging not only 
from what he has already said, but from what he subsequently 
adds in his attack upon the Christian system, when he asserts 
that Christians "repel every wise man from the doctrine of 
their faith, and invite only the ignorant and the vulgar ; " on 
which assertions we shall remark in due time, when we come to 
the proper place. 

^ TO duxT^oyov. 


Chapter xix. 

He says, indeed, that " we ridicule the Egyptians, although 
they present many by no means contemptible mysteries^ for 
our consideration, when they teach us that such rites are acts 
of worship offered to eternal ideas, and not, as the multitude 
think, to ephemeral animals ; and that we are silly, because we 
introduce nothing nobler than the goats and dogs of the Egyp- 
tian worship in our narratives about Jesus." Now to this we 
reply, " Good sir,^ [suppose that] you are right in eulogizing 
the fact that the Egyptians present to view many by no means 
contemptible mysteries, and obscure explanations about the 
animals [worshipped] among them, you nevertheless do not act 
consistently in accusing us as if you believed that we had 
nothing to state which was worthy of consideration, but that all 
our doctrines were contemptible and of no account, seeing we 
unfold^ the narratives concernino; Jesus accordino; to the 
^ wisdom of the word ' to those who are ^ perfect ' in Chris- 
tianity. Regarding whom, as being competent to understand 
the wisdom that is in Christianity, Paul says : * We speak 
wisdom among them that are perfect ; yet . not the wisdom of 
this world, nor of the princes of this world, who come to nought, 
but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the 
hidden w^isdom which God ordained before the w^orld unto our 
glory, which none of the princes of this world knew.' "* 

Chapter xx. 

And we say to those who hold similar opinions to those of 
Celsus : "Paul then, we are to suppose, had before his mind 
the idea of no pre-eminent wisdom when he professed to speak 
wisdom among them that are perfect?" Now, as he spoke 
with his customary boldness when in making such a profession 
he said that he w^as possessed of no wisdom, we shall say in 
reply : first of all examine the epistles of him who utters these 
%vords, and look carefully at the meaning of each expression 
in them — say, in those to the Ephesians, and Colossians, and 
Thessalonians, and Philippians, and Romans, — and show two 
things, both that you understand Paul's words, and that you 

2 liilrjQivci^uvj. * 1 Cor. ii. 6-8. 


can demonstrate any of them to be silly or foolish. For if 
any one give himself to their attentive perusal, I am well 
assured either that he will be amazed at the understanding of 
the man who can clothe great ideas in common language ; or 
if he be not amazed, he will only exhibit himself in a ridiculous 
light, whether he simply state the meaning of the writer as if 
he had comprehended it, or try to controvert and confute what 
he only imagined that he understood ! 

Chapter xxi. 

And I have not yet spoken of the observance ^ of all that is 
written in the Gospels, each one of which contains much 
doctrine difficult to be understood, not merely by the multitude, 
but even by certain of the more intelligent, including a very 
profound explanation of the parables which Jesus delivered to 
^' those without," while reserving the exhibition of their full 
meaning^ for those who had passed beyond the stage of 
exoteric teaching, and who came to Him privately in the house. 
And when he comes to understand it, he will admire the 
reason why some are said to be " without," and others " in the 
house." And again, who would not be filled with astonishment 
that is able to comprehend the movements^ of Jesus ; ascending 
at one time a mountain for the purpose of delivering certain 
discourses, or of performing certain miracles, or for His own 
transfiguration, and descending again to heal the sick and those 
who were unable to follow Him whither His disciples went ? 
But it is not the appropriate time to describe at present the 
truly venerable and divine contents of the Gospels, or the mind 
of Christ — that is, the wisdom and the word — contained in the 
writings of Paul. But what we have said is sufficient by way 
of answer to the unphilosophic sneers * of Celsus, in comparing 
the inner mysteries of the church of God to the cats, and apes, 
and crocodiles, and goats, and dogs of Egypt. 

Chapter xxii. 

But this low jester^ Celsus, omitting no species of mockery 
and ridicule which can be employed against us, mentions in his 

^ rr.p'/jcrsag. ^ (ix(P'/ivstccu. ^ f/.iTu(io(.au;. 


treatise the Dioscuri, and Hercules, and JEsculapius, and 
Dionysus, who are believed by the Greeks to have become 
gods after being men, and says that *^ we cannot bear to call 
such beings gods, because they were at first men,^ and yet they 
manifested many noble qualities, which were displayed for the 
benefit of mankind, while we assert that Jesus was seen after 
His death by His own followers ;" and he brings against us an 
additional charge, as if we said that " He was seen indeed, but 
was only a shadow ! " Now to this we reply, that it was very 
artful of Celsus not here clearly to indicate that he did not 
regard these beings as gods, for he was afraid of the opinion 
of those who might peruse his treatise, and who might suppose 
him to be an atheist ; whereas, if he had paid respect to what 
appeared to him to be the truth, he would not have feigned to 
regard them as gods.^ Now to either of the allegations we are 
ready with an answer. Let us, accordingly, to those who do 
not regard them as gods reply as follows : These beings, then, 
are not gods at all ; but agreeably to the view of those who 
think that the soul of man perishes immediately [after death], 
the souls of these men also perished ; or according to the 
opinion of those who say that the soul continues to subsist or 
is immortal, these men continue to exist or are immortal, and 
they are not gods but heroes, — or not even heroes, but simply 
souls. If, then, on the one hand, you suppose them 7iot to exist, 
we shall have to prove the doctrine of the soul's immortality, 
which is to us a doctrine of pre-eminent importance;^ if, on 
the other, they do exist, we have still to prove* the doctrine of 
immortality, not only by what the Greeks have so well said 
regarding it, but also in a manner agreeable to the teaching of 
Holy Scripture. And we shall demonstrate that it is impos- 
sible for those who were polytheists during their lives to obtain 

^ The reading in the text is kxI Trpuroi^ for "which Bohereau proposes 
TO -Tcparov, which we have adopted in the translation. 

2 We have followed in the translation the emendation of Guietus, who 
proposes d Sstj^x/ (pociyo/xivnu ocvTu d'hvidstxv s'^psa/3svasv^ ovx, oiu, K.r.y^., instead 
of the textual reading, si' ts tvjs (poc{uof4.suvig etvTa dT^ridiiocg STrpiafisvasVj ovk 

^ rov 7rpoYiyov[^svoy vjfMv 'Trip] 'J/vx^lS KcnuaKivctariov T^oyov. 
* Bohereau conjectures, with great probability, that instead of d-Trohix.- 
nou, we ought to read d'TrohiKrsou. 


a better country and position after their departure from this 
world, by quoting the histories that are related of them, in 
which is recorded the great dissoluteness of Hercules, and his 
effeminate bondage with Omphale, together with the statements 
regarding ^sculapius, that their Zeus struck him dead by a 
thunderbolt. And of the Dioscuri, it will be said that they 
die often^ 

" At one time live on alternate days, and at another 
Die, and obtain honour equally with the gods." ^ 

How, then, can they reasonably imagine that one of these is to 
be regarded as a god or a hero ? 

Chapter xxiii. 

But we, in proving the facts related of our Jesus from the 
prophetic Scriptures, and comparing afterwards His history 
with them, demonstrate that no dissoluteness on his part is re- 
corded. For even they who conspired against Him, and who 
sought false witnesses to aid them, did not find even any 
plausible grounds for advancing a false charge against Him, 
so as to accuse Him of licentiousness; but His death was 
indeed the result of a conspiracy, and bore no resemblance to 
the death of ^sculapius by lightning. And what is there that is 
venerable in the madman Dionysus, and his female garments, 
that he should be worshipped as a god? And if they who 
would defend such beings betake themselves to allegorical 
interpretations, we must examine each individual instance, and 
ascertdn whether it is well founded,^ and also in each particular 
case, whether those beings can have a real existence, and are 
deserving of respect and worship who were torn by the Titans, 
and cast down from their heavenly throne. Whereas our 
Jesus, who appeared to the members of His own troop ^ — for I 
will take the word that Celsus employs — did really appear, and 
Celsus makes a false accusation against the gospel in saying 
that what appeared was a shadow. And let the statements of 
their histories and that of Jesus be carefully compared together. 
Will Celsus have the former to be true, but the latter, although 
recorded by eye-witnesses who showed by their acts that they 

K^. 1 Cf. Horn. Odyss. xi. 303 and 304. 
^■b ^ 6tocaurot,lg. 


clearly understood the nature of what they had seen, and who 
manifested their state of mind by what they cheerfully under- 
went for the sake of His gospel, to be inventions ? Now, who is 
there that, desiring to act always in conformity with right reason, 
would yield his assent at random^ to what is related of the one, 
but would rush to the history of Jesus, and without examination 
refuse to believe what is recorded of Him ? ^ 

Chapter xxiv. 

And again, when it is said of -<3]]sculapius that a great multi- 
tude both of Greeks and barbarians acknowledge that they 
have frequently seen, and still see, no mere phantom, but 
^sculapius himself, healing and doing good, and foretelling 
the future; Celsus requires us to believe this, and finds no 
fault with the believers in Jesus, when we express our belief 
in such stories, but when we give our assent to the disciples, 
and eye-witnesses of the miracles of. Jesus, who clearly mani- 
fest the honesty of their convictions (because we see their 
guilelessness, as far as it is possible to see the conscience re- 
vealed in writing), we are called by him a set of " silly " indi- 
viduals, although he cannot demonstrate that an incalculable ^ 
number, as he asserts, of Greeks and baj:barians acknowledge 
the existence of ^sculapius ; while we, if we deem this a matter 
of importance, can clearly show a countless multitude of Greeks 
and barbarians who acknowledge the existence of Jesus. And 
some give evidence of their having received through this faith 
a marvellous power by the cures which they perform, invoking 
no other name over those who need their help than that of the 
God of all things, and of Jesus, along with a mention of His 
history. For by these means we too have seen many persons 
freed from grievous calamities, and from distractions of mind,* 
and madness, and countless other ills, which could be cured 
neither by men nor devils. 

Chapter xxv. 
Now, in order to grant that there did exist a healing spirit 

^ tig "hi tot, 'TTspl ZQVTQV dvi^iTocaTCi; opfAcJv d.7ziaTViacci roig "Trepl xvrov. 
^ oiu,v^r-Qv. * SKa-a-ascuu. 

Book hi.] OTtlGEN AGAINST CELSUS, 105 

named -^sculapius, who used to cure the bodies of men, I would 
say to those who are astonished at such an occurrence, or at 
the prophetic knowledge of Apollo, that since the cure of bodies 
is a thing indifferent,^ and a matter within the reach not merely 
of the good,^ but also of the bad ; and as the foreknowledge of 
the future is also a thing indifferent — for the possessor of fore- 
knowledge does not necessarily manifest the possession of virtue 
— you must show that they who practise healing or who fore- 
tell the future are in no respect wicked, but exhibit a perfect 
pattern of virtue, and are not far from being regarded as gods. 
But they will not be able to show that they are virtuous who 
practise the art of healing, or who are gifted with foreknowledge, 
seeing many who are not fit to live are related to have been 
healed ; and these, too, persons whom, as leading improper lives, 
no wise physician would wish to heal. And in the responses 
of the Pythian oracle also you may find some injunctions which 
are not in accordance with reason, two of which we will! adduce 
on the present occasion ; viz. when it gave commandment that 
Cleomedes^ — the boxer, I suppose — should be honoured with 
divine honours, seeing some great importance or other attaching 
to his pugilistic skill, but did not confer either upon Pythagoras 
or upon Socrates the honours which it awarded to pugilism ; 
and also when it called Archilochus ^' the servant of the 
Muses" — a man who employed his poetic powers upon topics 
of the most wicked and licentious nature, and whose public 
character was dissolute and impure — and entitled him " pious,"* 
in respect of his being the servant of the Muses, who are deemed 
to be goddesses ! Now I am inclined to think that no one 
would assert that he w^as a "pious" man who was not adorned 
with all moderation and virtue, or that a decorous ^ man would 
utter such expressions as are contained in the unseemly^ iambics 
of Archilochus. And if nothing that is divine in itself is shown 
to belong either to the healing skill of ^sculapius or the pro- 
phetic power of Apollo, how could any one, even were I to 
grant that the facts are as alleged, reasonably worship them as 
pure divinities? — and especially when the prophetic spirit of 
Apollo, pure from any body of earth, secretly enters through 
^ fiiaov. 2 tidTiiovs. 3 Cf Smith's Diet, of Biograph. s.v* 


the private parts the person of her who is called the priestess, 
as she is seated at the mouth of the Pythian cave ! -^ Whereas 
regarding Jesus and His power we have no such notion; for 
the body which was born of the Virgin was composed of 
human material, and capable of receiving human wounds and 

Chapter xxvi. 

Let us see what Celsus says next, when he adduces from 
history marvellous occurrences, which in themselves seem to 
be incredible, but which are not discredited by him, so far at 
least as appears from his words. And, in the first place, re- 
garding Aristeas of Proconnesus, of whom he speaks as follows : 
" Then, with respect to Aristeas of Proconnesus, who disap- 
peared from among men in a manner so indicative of divine 
intervention,^ and who showed himself again in so unmistake- 
able a fashion, and on many subsequent occasions visited many 
parts of the world, and announced marvellous events, and whom 
Apollo enjoined the inhabitants of Metapontium to regard 
as a god, no one considers him to be a god." This account 
he appears to have taken from Pindar and Herodotus. It will 
be sufficient, however, at present to quote the statement of the 
latter writer from the fourth book of his histories, which is to 
the following effect : " Of what country Aristeas, who made 
these verses, was, has already been mentioned, and I shall now 
relate the account I heard of him in Proconnesus and Cyzicus. 
They say that Aristeas, who was inferior to none of the citizens 
by birth, entering into a fuller's shop in Proconnesus, died 
suddenly, and that the fuller, having closed his workshop, went 
to acquaint the relatives of the deceased. When the report 
had spread through the city that Aristeas was dead, a certain 
Cyzicenian, arriving from Artace, fell into a dispute with those 
who made the report, affirming that he had met and conversed 
with him on his way to Cyzicus, and he vehemently disputed 

■^ ore hdi rov Tlvdiov orof^iov '^spiKotSt^ofciut] r/ xecT^ovfiiut} 'TrpoCpyjriht 
TTVivf^oe, 5/06 rau yvvociKSieou vTrsiaipxiroci to /hocvtikoi/j 6 ^ A7r67\.Xav, ro Kudupov 
ot,7s:o y-fi'ivw aa^uTog. Boherellus conjectures to fiuvrtKov rou ^ ATroT^Kuvog to 


" ovro) ^oufcouiag. 


the truth of the report ; but the relations of the deceased went 
to the fuller's shop, taking with them what was necessary for 
the purpose of carrying the body away ; but when the house 
was opened, Aristeas was not to be seen, either dead or alive. 
They say that afterwards, in the seventh year, he appeared in 
Proconnesus, composed those verses which by the Greeks are 
now called Arimaspian, and having composed them, disappeared 
a second time. Such is the story current in these cities. But 
these things I know happened to the Metapontines in Italy 
340 years after the second disappearance of Aristeas, as I dis- 
covered by computation in Proconnesus and Metapontium. 
The Metapontines say that Aristeas himself, having appeared 
in their country, exhorted them to erect an altar to Apollo, and 
to place near it a statue bearing the name of Aristeas the Pro- 
connesian ; for he said that Apollo had visited their country 
only of all the Italians, and that he himself, who was now 
Aristeas, accompanied him; and that when he accompanied 
the god he was a crow ; and after saying this he vanished. 
And the Metapontines say they sent to Delphi to inquire of 
the god what the apparition of the man meant; but the 
Pythian bade them obey the apparition, and if they obeyed it 
would conduce to their benefit. They accordingly, having re- 
ceived this answer, fulfilled the injunctions. And now, a statue 
bearing the name of Aristeas is placed near the image of 
Apollo, and around it laurels are planted : the image is placed 
in the public square. Thus much concerning Aristeas." ^ 

Chapter xxvii. 

Now, in answer to this account of Aristeas, we have to say, 
that if Celsus had adduced it as history, without signifying his 
own assent to its truth, it is in a different way that we should 
have met his argument. But since he asserts that he "disappeared 
through the intervention of the divinity," and " showed himself 
again in an unmistakeable manner," and " visited many parts 
of the world," and " made marvellous announcements ; " and, 
moreover, that there was " an oracle of Apoilo, enjoining the 
Metapontines to treat Aristeas as a god," he gives the accounts 
relating to him as upon his own authority, and with his full 
1 Herod, book iv. chap. 14 and 15 (Gary's transl.). 


assent. And [this being the case], we ask, How is it possible 
that, while supposing the marvels related by the disciples of 
Jesus regarding their Master to be wholly fictitious, and find- 
ing fault with those who believe them, you, O Celsus, do not 
regard these stories of yours to be either products of jugglery^ 
or inventions ? And how,^ while charging others with an irra- 
tional belief in the marvels recorded of Jesus, can you show 
yourself justified in giving credence to such statements as the 
above, without producing some proof or evidence of the alleged 
occurrences having taken place % Or do Herodotus and Pindar 
appear to you to speak the truth, while they who have made it 
their concern to die for the doctrine of Jesus, and who have 
left to their successors writings so remarkable on the truths 
which they believed, entered upon a struggle for the sake 
of *' fictions " (as you consider them), and " myths," and 
" juggleries," which entails a life of danger and a death of 
violence? Place yourself, then, as a neutral party, between 
what is related of Aristeas and what is recorded of Jesus, and 
see whether, from the result, and from the benefits which have 
accrued to the reformation of morals, and to the worship of 
the God who is over all things, it is not allowable to conclude 
that we must believe the events recorded of Jesus not to have 
happened without the divine intervention, but that this was 
not the case with the story of Aristeas the Proconnesian. 

Chapter xxviii. 

For with what purpose in view did Providence accomplish 
the marvels related of Aristeas? And to confer what benefit 
upon the human race did such remarkable events, as you re- 
gard them, take place ? You cannot answer. But we, when 
we relate the events of the history of Jesus, have no ordinary 
defence to offer for their occurrence ; — this, viz., that God 
desired to commend the doctrine of Jesus as a doctrine which 
was to save mankind, and which was based, indeed, upon the 
apostles as foundations of the rising ^ edifice of Christianity, 
but which increased in magnitude also in the succeeding ages, 

^ repocrsixu. 

2 Guietus conjectures, kocI t^j;, Z T^uare, 

^ TVjg Kocru/SoiT^'hof/.si/Yig oiKoho/:iiijg. 


in which not a few cures are wrought in the name of Jesus, 
and certain other manifestations of no small moment have 
taken place. Now what sort of person is Apollo, who enjoined 
the Metapontines to treat Aristeas as a god ? And with what 
object does he do this? ^And what advantage was he pro- 
curing to the Metapontines from this divine worship, if they 
were to regard him as a god, who a little ago was a mortal? 
And yet the recommendations of Apollo (viewed by us as a 
demon who has obtained the honour of libation and sacrificial 
odours ^) regarding this Aristeas appear to you to be worthy of 
consideration ; while those of the God of all things, and of His 
holy angels, made known beforehand through the prophets 
— not after the birth of Jesus, but before He appeared among 
men — do not stir you up to admiration, not merely of the 
prophets who received the Divine Spirit, but of Him also who 
w^as the object of their predictions, whose entrance into life was 
so clearly predicted many years beforehand by numerous pro- 
phets, that the whole Jewish people who were hanging in ex- 
pectation of the coming of Him who was looked for, did, after 
the advent of Jesus, fall into a keen dispute with each other ; 
and that a great multitude of them acknowledged Christ, and 
believed Him to be the object of prophecy, while others did 
not believe in Him, but, despising the meekness of those who, 
on account of the teaching of Jesus, were unwilling to cause 
even the most trifling sedition, dared to inflict on Jesus those 
cruelties which His disciples have so truthfully and candidly 
recorded, without secretly omitting from their marvellous his- 
tory of Him what seems to the multitude to bring disgrace 
upon the doctrine of Christianity. But both Jesus Himself 
and His disciples desired that His followers should believe not 
merely in His Godhead and miracles, as if He had not also 
been a partaker of human nature, and had assumed the human 
flesh which "lusteth against the Spirit;"^ but they saw also 
that the power which had descended into human nature, and 
into the midst of human miseries, and which had assumed a 
human soul and body, contributed through faith, along with 

^ rov icctd" 7if4,Sis 'huifi.ovo;^ T^ax^vro:; yspx; "hoipvig ts KviaaTig re. 
2 ti)g ov KOivcoy/iaxurog tvi dvdpwTrlvyi (pvast, ovo' duuXxfiouTOST^v ev ecv6paT0l{ 
cxpy.u i'TTi^vfiOvaocu kutx tov Trvsi/pcurog. 


its divine elements, to the salvation of believers/ when they see 
that from Him there began the union of the divine with the 
human nature, in order that the human, by communion with 
the divine, might rise to be divine, not in Jesus alone, but in 
all those who not only believe, but ^ enter upon the life which 
Jesus taught, and which elevates to friendship with God and 
communion with Him every one who lives according to the 
precepts of Jesus. 

Chapter xxix. 

According to Celsus, then, Apollo wished the Metapontines 
to treat Aristeas as a god. But as the Metapontines con- 
sidered the evidence in favour of Aristeas being a man — and 
probably not a virtuous one — to be stronger than the declara- 
tion of the oracle to the effect that he was a god or worthy of 
divine honours, they for that reason would not obey Apollo, 
and consequently no one regarded Aristeas as a god. But with 
respect to Jesus we would say that, as it was of advantage to 
the human race to accept him as the Son of God — God come 
in a human soul and body — and as this did not seem to be 
advantageous to the gluttonous appetites ^ of the demons which 
love bodies, and to those who deem them to be gods on that 
account, the demons that are on earth (which are supposed 
to be gods by those who are not instructed in the nature of 
demons), and also their worshippers, were desirous to prevent 
the spread of the doctrine of Jesus ; for they saw that the 
libations and odours in which they greedily delighted were 
being swept away by the prevalence of the instructions of 
Jesus. But the God who sent Jesus dissipated all the con- 
spiracies of the demons, and made the gospel of Jesus to 
prevail throughout the whole world for the conversion and 
reformation of men, and caused churches to be everywhere 
established in opposition to those of superstitious and licentious 
and wicked men ; for such is the character of the multitudes 

■'■'AATia yoip xoii tt^v KurufiSiactv el; dudpcoTriui^v (pvatu x,ou tig di/^pa'Triuxg 
'TTsptarxastg 'hvvdf^iv, kcx,1 dvocKocfiovaccv t^v^r^u >coci arZ^oc. civdpcjTrtvotf, kupay sx, 
Toy TriariVia&oci f^ixoi rav duoripau avi^liccTQ^of^ivYiv ug auTYiptotu roig 't^iotsvovqiv. 

2 f^iroi rou irianvnv. Others read, ^gxet to 'TriaTivuv, 


who constitute the citizens ^ in the assemblies of the various 
cities. Whereas the churches of God which are instructed by 
Christ, when carefully contrasted with the assemblies of the 
districts in which they are situated, are as beacons^ in the 
world ; for who would not admit that even the inferior mem- 
bers of the church, and those who in comparison with the 
better are less worthy, are nevertheless more excellent than 
many of those who belong to the assemblies in the different 
districts ? 

Chapter xxx. 

For the church^ of God, e,g. which is at Athens, is a meek 
and stable body, as being one which desires to please God, who 
is over all things ; whereas the assembly* of the Athenians is 
given to sedition, and is not at all to be compared to the church 
of God in that city. And you may say the same thing of the 
church of God at Corinth, and of the assembly of the Corin- 
thian people ; and also of the church of God at Alexandria, 
I and of the assembly of the people of Alexandria. And if he 
who hears this be a candid man, and one who investigates 
things with a desire to ascertain the truth, he will be filled with 
admiration of Him who not only conceived the design, but also 
was able to secure in all places the establishment of churches 
of God alongside ^ of the assemblies of the people in each city. 
In like manner, also, in comparing the council^ of the church 
of God with the council in any city, you would find that 
certain councillors^ of the church are worthy to rule in the city 
of God, if there be any such city in the whole world ;^ whereas 
the councillors in all other places exhibit in their characters 
no quality worthy of the conventional^ superiority which they 
appear to enjoy over their fellow-citizens. And so, too, you 
must compare the ruler of the church in each city with the 

^ TOtoivra, yocp roe. '7:cx.\)'ta,yfiv nta'hmvQ^iycx. kv rcclg iKKhnoiuig rau voT^sau 

WU . 2 (paar^psg. ^ iKyShYiaia. ■* SKKT^miei- 

Wr * 'TToipoiKOvaotg. ^ /SovAtjx/. '' (iovT^evTcti. 

^ ivpoig ocv TiUig fisu rvjs sscKTimiccs fiovT^svrocl oc^ioi shiu, si ri; iOTiv h tu 
•xavri 'ntihii tov ©soy, iv sksiuyi 'Tro'KirsveaQoci. Boherellus conjectures tvpotg »v 
OTt rtvig i^ii/, x.t.A. 

^ rvig £K Kxrctroi^iug v'Trspoxvig. 


ruler of the people of the city, in order to observe that even 
amongst those councillors and rulers of the church of God who 
come very far short of their duty, and who lead more iudolent 
lives than others who are more energetic, it is nevertheless 
possible to discover a general superiority in what relates to the 
progress of virtue over the characters of the councillors and 
rulers in the various cities.^ 

Chapter xxxr. 

Now if these things be so, why should it not be consistent 
with reason to hold with regard to Jesus, who was able to 
effect results so great, that there dwelt in Him no ordinary 
divinity ? while this was not the case either with the Procon- 
nesian Aristeas (although Apollo would have him regarded as 
a god), or with the other individuals enumerated by Celsus 
w4ien he says, " No one regards Abaris the Hyperborean as a 
god, who was possessed of such power as to be borne along like 
an arrow from a bow."^ For with what object did the deity 
who bestowed upon this Hyperborean Abaris the power of 
being carried along like an arrow, confer upon him such a gift ? 
Was it that the human race might be benefited thereby,"^ or 
did he himself obtain any advantage from the possession of 
such a power ? — always supposing it to be conceded that these 
statements are not wholly inventions, but that the thing 
actually happened through the co-operation of some demon. 
But if it be recorded that my Jesus was received up into 
glory,* I perceive the divine arrangement^ in such an act, viz. 
because God, who brought this to pass, commends in this way 
the Teacher to those who witnessed it, in order that as men who 
are contending not for human doctrine, but for divine teaching, 

^ on Koii l-ri rZu a(pohpu oi'Tirorvyxuvo^ivciv (iovT^iVTuv y,xl ex.px,ovTau 
lKx/kr,a[cc; 0£oy, nccl pudvfiorspop -Trccpai TOvg iurovarspa; (iiovvrocg^ cvhiv vjtto-j 
sariu ivpuu ug iTriTTccv VTrepox,'^!/, rsjz/ £u rr, Icri tu; cipsrccs 'TrpoKOTrfi, Tupoi tx 
T^h rcju sv reels 'Kohiai (iov'hivrau kccI d,px6vrcoy. Boherellus conjectures 

2 aon oiaru) /SeAg/ cvf^(pipia&ui. Spencer and Bohereau would delete 
/SsAi/ as a gloss. 

2 Guietus would insert ti before hoc i\ cj^pf.Xvjdyi. This emendation is 
adopted in the translation. 

* Cf. 1 Tim. iii. 16. ^ tvju oiKovofttuv. 


they may devote themselves as far as possible to the God who 
is over all, and may do all things in order to please Him, as 
those who are to receive in the divine judgment the reward of 
the good or evil which they have wrought in this life. 

Chapter xxxii. 

But as Celsus next mentions the case of the Clazomenian, 
subjoining to the story about him this remark, " Do they not 
report that his soul frequently quitted his body, and flitted 
about in an incorporeal form ? and yet men did not regard him 
as a god," we have to answer that probably certain wicked 
demons contrived that such statements should be committed to 
writing (for I do not believe that they contrived that such a 
thing should actually take place), in order that the predictions 
regarding Jesus, and the discourses uttered by Him, might 
either be evil spoken of, as inventions like these, or might 
excite no surprise, as not being more remarkable than other 
occurrences. But my Jesus said regarding His own soul (which 
was separated from the body, not by virtue of any human 
necessity, but by the miraculous power which was given Him 
also for this purpose) : " No one taketh my life from me, but 
I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I 
have power to take it again." ^ For as He had power to lay it 
down, He laid it down when He said, " Father, why hast Thou 
forsaken me ? And when He had cried with a loud voice. He 
gave up the ghost," ^ anticipating the public executioners of the 
crucified, who break the legs of the victims, and who do so in 
order that their punishment may not be further prolonged. 
And He " took His life," when He manifested Himself to His 
disciples, having in their presence foretold to the unbelieving 
Jews, '' Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it 
up again," ^ and " He spake this of the temple of His body ;" the 
prophets, moreover, having predicted such a result in many 
other passages of their writings, and in this, " My flesh also 
shall rest in hope : for Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, 
neither wilt Thou suffer thine holy One to see corruption."* 

1 Cf. John X. 18. 2 cf. Matt, xxvii. 46-50 

3 Cf. John ii. 19. * Ps. xvi. 9, 10. 



Chapter xxxiii. 

Celsus, however, shows that he has read a good many 
Grecian histories, when he quotes further what is told of Cleo- 
medes of Astypalea, " who," he relates, " entered into an ark, 
and although shut up within it, was not found therein, but 
through some arrangement of the divinity, flew out, when 
certain persons had cut open the ark in order to apprehend 
him." Now this story, if an invention, as it appears to be, 
cannot be compared with what is related of Jesus, since in 
the lives of such men there is found no indication of their 
possessing the divinity which is ascribed to them ; whereas the 
divinity of Jesus is established both by the existence of the 
churches of the saved,^ and by the prophecies uttered con- 
cerning Him, and by the cures wrought in His name, and by 
the wisdom and knowledge which are in Him, and the deeper 
truths which are discovered by those who know how to ascend 
from a simple faith, and to investigate the meaning which lies 
in the divine Scriptures, agreeably to the injunctions of Jesus, 
who said, " Search the Scriptures," ^ and to the wish of Paul, 
who taught that "we ought to know how to answer every 
man ; " ® nay, also of him who said, " Be ready always to give 
an answer to every man that asketh of you a reason of the 
faith * that is in you." ^ If he wishes to have it conceded, how- 
ever, that it is not a fiction, let him show with what object this 
supernatural power made him, through some arrangement of 
the divinity, flee from the ark. For if he will adduce any 
reason worthy of consideration, and point out any purpose 
worthy of God in conferring such a power on Cleomedes, we 
will decide on the answer which we ought to give ; but if he 
fail to say anything convincing on the point, clearly because no 
reason can be discovered, then we shall either speak slightingly 
of the story to those who have not accepted it, and charge it 
with being false, or we shall say that some demoniac power, 
casting a glamour over the eyes, produced, in the case of the 
Astypalean, a result like that which is produced by the per- 

^ rav d)(pi7iOVfiiuav. ^ Jolm V. 39. 

3 Of. Col. iv. 6. •* TTtarsaS' 

fi 1 Pet, ill. 15. 


formers of juggling tricks/ while Celsus thinks that with 
respect to him he has spoken like an oracle, when he said 
that " by some divine arrangement he flew away from the 

Chapter xxxiv. 

I am, however, of opinion that these individuals are the only 
instances with which Celsus was acquainted. And yet, that he 
might appear voluntarily to pass by other similar cases, he says, 
*' And one might name many others of the same kind." Let 
it be granted, then, that many such persons have existed who 
conferred no benefit upon the human race : what would each 
one of their acts be found to amount to in comparison with the 
work of Jesus, and the miracles related of Him, of which we 
have already spoken at considerable length? He next imagines 
that, ^' in worshipping him who," as he says, " was taken 
prisoner and put to death, we are acting like the Getse who 
worship Zamolxis, and the Cilicians who worship Mopsus, and 
the Acarnanians who pay divine honours to Amphilochus, and 
like the Thebans who do the same to Amphiaraus, and the 
Lebadians to Trophonius." Now in these instances we shall 
prove that he has compared us to the foregoing without good 
grounds. For these different tribes erected temples and statues 
to those individuals above enumerated, whereas we have re- 
frained from offering to the divinity honour by any such means 
(seeing they are adapted rather to demons, which are somehow 
fixed in a certain place which they prefer to any other, or 
which take up their dwelling, as it were, after being removed 
[from one place to another] by certain rites and incantations), 
and are lost in reverential wonder at Jesus, who has recalled 
our minds from all sensible things, as being not only cor- 
ruptible, but destined to corruption, and elevated them to 
honour the God who is over all with prayers and a righteous 
life, which we offer to Him as being intermediate between the 

iaTopice. a; ovk d'hnhl' ^ "hcii^ouiov r; (prjao/iisu 7rotpoc7r>,7i(T{ou rolg STrihiKW/^evois 
yoTjffiu d.7rctrr\ 6(p6u'Kf/.uv 'TriTroiYiaivxi kocI "Tnpi rov ^ AarvTruT^xiix. Spencer 
in his edition includes in brackets, and renders, " Aut eos incusabimus, 
qui istam virtutem admiserint." 


nature of the uncreated and that of all created things,-^ and 
who bestows upon us the benefits which come from the Father, 
and who as High Priest conveys our prayers to the supreme 

Chapter xxxv. 

But I should like, in answer to him who for some unknown 
reason advances such statements as the above, to make in a 
conversational way ^ some such remarks as the following, which 
seem not inappropriate to him. Are then those persons whom 
you have mentioned nonentities, and is there no power in 
Lebadea connected with Trophonius, nor in Thebes with the 
temple of Amphiaraus, nor in Acarnania with Amphilochus, 
nor in Cilicia with Mopsus ? Or is there in such persons some 
being, either a demon, or a hero, or even a god, working works 
which are beyond the reach of man ? For if he answer that 
there is nothing either demoniacal or divine about these indi- 
viduals more than others, then let him at once make known his 
own opinion, as being that of an Epicurean, and of one who 
does not hold the same views with the Greeks, and who neither 
recognises demons nor worships gods as do the Greeks; and 
let it be shown that it was to no purpose that he adduced the 
instances previously enumerated (as if he believed them to be 
true), together with those which he adds in the following pages. 
But if he will assert that the persons spoken of are either 
demons, or heroes, or even gods, let him notice that he will 
establish by what he has admitted a result which he does not 
desire, viz. that Jesus also was some such being; for which 
reason, too, he was able to demonstrate to not a few that He 
had come down from God to visit the human race. And if he 
once admit this, see whether he will not be forced to confess 
that He is mightier than those individuals with whom he classed 
Him, seeing none of the latter forbids the offering of honour 

^ ots xpoaxyofisv otyrw, ug S/« fisrx^v ourog rvig rov uysp'/irov kuI rrjs rav 
ysuYiTuv 'Trxurau (pvasug. " Hoeschel (itemque Spencerus ad marg.) sus- 
picabatur legendum : ug B)j f^sru^v ourog. Male. Nihil mutari necesse est. 
Agitur quippe de precibus, quas offerimus Deo ' per eum, qui veluti medius 
est inter increatam naturam et creatam.' " — Ru^us. 

2 echo7iea)c^,a»t. 


to the others ; while He, having confidence in Himself, because 
He is more powerful than all those others, forbids them to 
be received as divine ^ because they are wicked demons, who 
have taken possession of places on earth, through inability to 
rise to the purer and diviner region, whither the grossnesses of 
earth and its countless evils cannot reach. 

Chapter xxxvi. 

But as he next introduces the case of the favourite of Adrian 
(I refer to the accounts regarding the youth Antinous, and the 
honours paid him by the inhabitants of the city of Antinous in 
Egypt), and imagines that the honour paid to him falls little 
short of that which we render to Jesus, let us show in what a 
spirit of hostility this statement is made. For what is there in 
common between a life lived among the favourites of Adrian, 
by one who did not abstain even from unnatural lusts, and that 
of the venerable Jesus, against whom even they who brought 
countless other charges, and who told so many falsehoods, were 
not able to allege that He manifested, even in the slightest 
degree, any tendency to what was licentious ? ^ Nay, further, 
if one were to investigate, in a spirit of truth and impartiality, 
the stories relating to Antinous, he would find that it was due 
to the magical arts and rites of the Egyptians that there was 
even the appearance of his performing anything [marvellous] 
in the city which bears his name, and that too only after his 
decease, — an effect which is said to have been produced in other 
temples by the Egyptians, and those who are skilled in the arts 
which they practise. For they set up in certain places demons 
claiming prophetic or healing power, and which frequently 
torture those who seem to have committed any mistake about 
ordinary kinds of food, or about touching the dead body of a 
man, that they may have the appearance of alarming the un- 
educated multitude. Of this nature is the being that is con- 
sidered to be a god in Antinoopolis in Egypt, whose [reputed] 
virtues are the lying inventions of some who live by the gain 
derived therefrom;^ while others, deceived by the demon placed 

^ rxg rovrco!/ dTroho^ois. 

^ as KoLv TO tv/fiv uKQ7\.uaia.g x.u,v I'r' c'Kiyou ysvaufthov ; 

® oy dpsroi; oi f4,sy rivig KvfisvrtKOinoov ^uurs; Kotrocipiv'bo'JTCti. 


there, and others again convicted by a weak conscience, actually 
think that they are paying a divine penalty inflicted by An- 
tinous. Of such a nature also are the mysteries which they 
perform, and the seeming predictions which they utter. Far 
different from such are those of Jesus. For it was no company 
of sorcerers, paying court to a king or ruler at his bidding, 
who seemed to have made him a god ; but the Architect of the 
universe Himself, in keeping with the marvellously persuasive 
power of His words,^ commended Him as worthy of honour, 
not only to those men who were well disposed, but to demons 
also, and other unseen powers, which even at the present time 
show that they either fear the name of Jesus as that of a being of 
superior power, or reverentially accept Him as their legal ruler.^ 
For if the commendation had not been given Him by God, the 
demons would not have withdrawn from those whom they had 
assailed, in obedience to the mere mention of His name. 

Chapter xxxvii. 

The Egyptians, then, having been taught to worship An- 
tinous, will, if you compare him with Apollo or Zeus, endure 
such a comparison, Antinous being magnified in their estima- 
tion through being classed with these deities; for Celsus is 
clearly convicted of falsehood when he says, "that they will 
not endure his being compared with Apollo or Zeus." Whereas 
Christians (who have learned that their eternal life consists in 
knowing the only true God, who is over all, and Jesus Christ, 
whom He has sent ; and who have learned also that all the gods 
of the heathen are greedy demons, which flit around sacrifices 
and blood, and other sacrificial accompaniments,^ in order to 
deceive those who have not taken refuge with the God who is 
over all, but that the divine and holy angels of God are of a 
different nature and will^ from all the demons on earth, and 
that they are known to those exceedingly few persons who have 
carefully and intelligently investigated these matters) will not 
endure a comparison to be made between them and Apollo 
or Zeus, or any being worshipped with odours and blood and 

^ uKoT^ov&ag rvi lu tu 'Aiysiu npxariag 'TriartKri Zvyxf^-si. 

^ ug Kos-ra. v6(/.ovg uvrau cipxourog. 

* ii'7iro(pop»g. * "z-pocapiaeag. 


sacrifices ; some of them, so acting from their extreme simpli- 
city, not being able to give a reason for their conduct, but 
sincerely observing the precepts which they have received ; 
others, again, for reasons not to be lightly regarded, nay, even 
of a profound description, and (as a Greek would say) drawn 
from the inner nature of things ;^ and amongst the latter of 
these God is a frequent subject of conversation, and those who 
are honoured by God, through His only-begotten Word, with 
participation in His divinity, and therefore also in His name. 
They speak much, too, both regarding the angels of God and 
those who are opposed to the truth, but have been deceived ; 
and who, in consequence of being deceived, call them gods or 
angels of God, or good demons, or heroes who have become such 
by the transference into them of a good human soul.^ And 
such Christians will also show, that as in philosophy there are 
many who appear to be in possession of the truth, who have yet 
either deceived themselves by plausible arguments, or by rashly 
assenting to what was brought forward and discovered by 
others ; so also, among those souls which exist apart from 
bodies, both angels and demons, there are some which have been 
induced by plausible reasons to declare themselves gods. And 
because it was impossible that the reasons of such things could 
be discovered by men with perfect exactness, it was deemed 
safe that no mortal should entrust himself to any being as to 
God, with the exception of Jesus Christ, who is, as it were, the 
Ruler over all things, and who both beheld these weighty 
secrets, and made them known to a few. 

Chapter xxxviii. 

The belief, then, in Antinous, or any other such person, 
whether among the Egyptians or the Greeks, is, so to speak, 
unfortunate ; while the belief in Jesus would seem to be either 
a fortunate one, or the result of thorough investigation, having 
the appearance of the former to the multitude, and of the 
latter to exceedingly few.^ And when I speak of a certain 
belief being, as the multitude would call it, unfortunate, I in 

^ iaaripix,uu kocI i'Tro'TrnKuu. 

^ -T^epi OS rou 'Ij^ffoy ^'xo; Oo^ataec ocv shott evrv^c'^/S, ^ ^«*' i3£(5eca»ifi(Tfch6)g 

120 OniGEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book hi. 

such a case refer the cause to God, who knows the reasons of 
the various fates allotted to each one who enters human life. 
The Greeks, moreover, will admit that even amongst those who 
are considered to be most largely endowed with wisdom, good 
fortune has had much to do, as in the choice of teachers of one 
kind rather than another, and in meeting with a better class 
of instructors (there being teachers who taught the most 
opposite doctrines), and in being brought up in better circum- 
stances ; for the bringing up of many has been amid surround- 
ings of such a kind, that they were prevented from ever 
receiving any idea of better things, but constantly passed their 
life, from their earliest youth, either as the favourites of licen- 
tious men or of tyrants, or in some other wretched condition 
which forbade the soul to look upwards. And the causes of 
these varied fortunes, according to all probability, are to be 
found in the reasons of providence, though it is not easy for 
men to ascertain these ; but I have said what I have done by 
way of digression from the main body of my subject, on 
account of the proverb, that "such is the power of faith, 
because it seizes that which first presents itself."^ For it was 
necessary, owing to the different methods of education, to speak 
of the differences of belief among men, some of whom are more, 
others less fortunate in their belief ; and from this to proceed 
to show that what is termed good or bad fortune would appear 
to contribute, even in the case of the most talented, to their 
appearing to be more fully endowed with reason, and to give 
their assent on grounds of reason to the majority of human 
opinions. But enough on these points. 

Chapter xxxix. 

We must notice the remarks which Celsus next makes, when 
he says to us, that " faith, having taken possession of our 
minds, makes us yield the assent which we give to the doctrine 
of Jesus ;" for of a truth it is faith which does produce such an 
assent. Observe, however, whether that faith does not of itself 
exhibit w^hat is worthy of praise, seeing we entrust ourselves to 

fiiuri TTccpec ttkuv i'Kiyara.TOig. 

^ roaovTOv "ttoisI 'Triarig, OTrotoc Ssj 'i^poy^ctrocoyjivucx.. 


the God who is over all, acknowledging our gratitude to Him 
who has led us to such a faith, and declaring that He could 
not have attempted or accomplished such a result without the 
divine assistance. And we have confidence also in the inten- 
tions of the writers of the Gospels, observing their piety and 
conscientiousness, manifested in their writings, which contain 
nothing that is spurious, or deceptive,^ or false, or cunning ; 
for it is evident to us that souls unacquainted with those 
artifices which are taught by the cunning sophistry of the 
Greeks (which is characterized by great plausibility and acute- 
ness), and by the kind of rhetoric in vogue in the courts of 
justice, would not have been able thus to invent occurrences 
which are fitted of themselves to conduct to faith, and to a life 
in keeping with faith. And I am of opinion that it was on 
this account that Jesus wished to employ such persons as 
teachers of His doctrines, viz. that there might be no ground 
for any suspicion of plausible sophistry, but that it might 
clearly appear to all who were capable of understanding, that 
the guileless purpose of the writers being, so to speak, marked 
with great simplicity, was deemed worthy of being accompanied 
by a diviner power, which accomplished far more than it seemed 
possible could be accomplished by a periplirasis of words, and a 
weaving of sentences, accompanied by all the distinctions of 
Grecian art. 

Chapter xl. 

But observe whether the principles of our faith, harmonizing 
with the general ideas implanted in our minds at birth, do not 
produce a change upon those who listen candidly to its state- 
ments ; for although a perverted view of things, with the aid 
of much instruction to the same effect, has been able to implant 
in the minds of the multitude the belief that images are gods, 
and that things made of gold, and silver, and ivory, and stone 
are deserving of worship, yet common sense ^ forbids the sup- 
position that God is at all a piece of corruptible matter, or is 
honoured when made to assume by men a form embodied in 
dead matter, fashioned according to some image or symbol of 
His appearance. And therefore we say at once of images that 

^ Kv(isvrtx,6y. 


tliey are not gods, and of such creations (of art) that they are 
not to be compared with the Creator, but are small in contrast 
with the God who is over all, and who created, and upholds, 
and governs the universe. And the rational soul recognising, 
as it were, its relationship [to the divine], at once rejects what 
it for a time supposed to be gods, and resumes its natural love"^ 
for its Creator ; and because of its affection towards Him, 
receives Him also who first presented these truths to all 
nations through the disciples whom He had appointed, and 
whom He sent forth, furnished with divine power and authority, 
to proclaim the doctrine regarding God and His kingdom. 

Chapter xli. 

But since he has charged us, I know not how often already, 
" with regarding this Jesus, who was but a mortal body, as a 
God, and with supposing that we act piously in so doing," it is 
superfluous to say any more in answer to this, as a great deal 
has been said in the preceding pages. And yet let those who 
make this charge understand that He w^iom we regard and 
believe to have been from the beginning God, and the Son of 
God, is the very Logos, and the very Wisdom, and the very 
Truth ; and with respect to His mortal body, and the human 
soul which it contained, we assert that not by their communion 
merely with Him, but by their unity and intermixture,^ they 
received the highest powers, and after participating in His 
divinity, were changed into God. And if any one should feel 
a difficulty at our saying this regarding His body, let him 
attend to what is said by the Greeks regarding matter, which, 
properly speaking, being without qualities, receives such as the 
Creator desires to invest it with, and which frequently divests 
itself of those which it formerly possessed, and assumes others 
of a different and higher kind. And if these opinions be cor- 
rect, what is there wonderful in this, that the mortal quality of 
the body of Jesus, if the providence of God has so willed it, 
should have been changed into one that was ethereal and diviae ? 

Chapter xlii. 
Celsus, then, does not speak as a good reasoner,^ when he 


compares the mortal flesh of Jesus to gold, and silver, and stone, 
asserting that the former is more liable to corruption than the 
latter. For, to speak correctly, that which is incorruptible is 
not more free from corruption than another thing which is 
incorruptible, nor that which is corruptible more liable to cor- 
ruption than another corruptible thing. But, admitting that 
there are degrees of corruptibility, we can say in answer, that 
if it is possible for the matter which underlies all qualities to 
exchange some of them, how should it be impossible for the 
flesh of Jesus also to exchange qualities, and to become such as 
it was proper for a body to be which had its abode in the ether 
and the regions above it, and possessing no longer the infirmi- 
ties belonging to the flesh, and those properties which Celsus 
terms "impurities," and in so terming them, speaks unlike a 
philosopher ? For that which is properly impure, is so because 
of its wickedness. Now the nature of body is not impure ; for 
in so far as it is bodily nature, it does not possess vice, which is 
the generative principle of impurity. But, as he had a sus- 
picion of the answer which we would return, he says with respect 
to the change of the body of Jesus, " Well, after he has laid 
aside these qualities, he will be a God : " [and if so], why not 
rather JEsculapius, and Dionysus, and Hercules? To which 
we reply, " What great deed has -^sculapius, or Dionysus, or 
Hercules wrought ? " And what individuals will they be able 
to point out as having been improved in character, and made 
better by their words and lives, so that they may make good 
their claim to be gods ? For let us peruse the many narratives 
regarding them, and see whether they were free from licen- 
tiousness, or injustice, or folly, or cowardice. And if nothing 
of that kind be found in them, the argument of Celsus might 
have force, which places the forenamed individuals upon an 
equality with Jesus. Bat if it is certain that, although some 
things are reported of them as reputable, they are recorded, 
nevertheless, to have done innumerable things which are con- 
trary to right- reason, how could you any longer say, with any 
show of reason, that these men, on putting aside their mortal 
body, became gods rather than Jesus ? 



Chapter xliii. 

He next says of us, that "we ridicule those who w^orship 
Jupiter, because his tomb is pointed out in the island of Crete ; 
and yet we worship him who rose from the tomb,-^ although 
ignorant of the grounds^ on which the Cretans observe sach a 
custom." Observe now that he thus undertakes the defence of 
the Cretans, and of Jupiter, and of his tomb, alluding obscurely 
to the allegorical notions, in conformity with which the myth 
regarding Jupiter is said to have been invented ; while he 
assails us who acknowledge that our Jesus has been buried, 
indeed, but who maintain that He has also been raised from 
the tomb, — a statement which the Cretans have not yet made 
regarding Jupiter. But since he appears to admit that the 
tomb of Jupiter is in Crete, w^hen he says that " we are igno- 
rant of the grounds on which the Cretans observe such a cus- 
tom," we reply that Callimachus the Cyrenian, who had read 
innumerable poetic compositions, and nearly the whole of Greek 
history, was not acquainted with any allegorical meaning which 
w^as contained in the stories about Jupiter and his tomb ; and 
accordingly he accuses the Cretans in his hymn addressed to 
Jupiter, in the words ; ^ 

" The Cretans are always liars : for thy tomb, king, 
The Cretans have reared ; and yet thou didst not die, 
For thou ever livest." 

Now he who said, " Thou didst not die, for thou ever livest," 
in denying that Jupiter's tomb was in Crete, records never- 
theless that in Jupiter there was the beginning of death.^ But 
birth upon earth is the beginning of death. And his words 

" And Rhea bore thee among the Parrhasians ; " — 

whereas he ought to have seen, after denying that the birth of 
Jupiter took place in Crete because of his tomb, that it was 
quite congruous with his birth in Arcadia that he who was born 
should also die. And the following is the manner in which 

^ rou cl'^6 Tov ra<pov. 

^ ovx, iihong ttco; kuI Kccdo. 

3 Cf. Callimach. Hymn i. Cf. also Tit. i. 12. 

* zr.v eipy/^u tov 6ccvutov yiyovivcct 7:ip\ tou Aict. 


Callimaclius speaks of theser things : " O Jupiter, some say 
that thou wert born on the mountains of Ida, others in Arcadia. 
"Which of them, O father, have lied? The Cretans are always 
liars," etc. Now it is Celsus who made us discuss these topics, 
by the unfair manner in which he deals with Jesus, in giving 
his assent to what is related about His death and burial, but 
reorardin^iC as an invention His resurrection from the dead, 
although this was not only foretold by innumerable prophets, 
but many proofs also were given of His having appeared after 

Chapter xliv. 

After these points Celsus quotes some objections against the 
doctrine of Jesus, made by a very few individuals who are 
considered Christians, not of the more intelligent, as he sup- 
poses, but of the more ignorant class, and asserts that " the 
following are the rules laid down by them. Let no one come 
to us who has been instructed, or who is wise or prudent (for 
such qualifications are deemed evil by us) ; but if there be any 
ignorant, or unintelligent, or uninstructed, or foolish persons, 
let them come with confidence. By which words, acknowledging 
that such individuals are worthy of their God, they manifestly 
show that they desire and are able to gain over only the sillj^, 
and the mean, and the stupid, with women and children." In 
reply to which, we say that, as if, while Jesus teaches con- 
tinence, and says, " Whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust 
after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his 
heart," one were to behold a few of those who are deemed to 
be Christians living licentiously, he would most justly blame 
them for living contrary to the teaching of Jesus, but would 
act most unreasonably if he were to charge the gospel with 
their censurable conduct ; so, if he found nevertheless that the 
doctrine of the Christians invites men to wisdom, the blame 
then must remain with those who rest in their own ignorance, 
and who utter, not what Celsus relates (for although some of 
them are simple and ignorant, they do not speak so shamelessly 
as he alleges), but other things of much less serious import, 
which, however, serve to turn aside men from the practice of 


Chaptek xlv. 

But that tlie object of Christianity ^ is that we should be- 
come wise, can be proved not only from the ancient Jewish 
writings, which we also use, but especially from those which 
were composed after the time of Jesus, and which are believed 
among the churches to be divine. Now, in the fiftieth Psalm, 
David is described as saying in his prayer to God these words : 
"The unseen and secret things of Thy wisdom Thou hast 
manifested to me."^ Solomon, too, because he asked for 
wisdom, received it ; and if any one were to peruse the Psalms, 
he would find the book filled with many maxims of wisdom; 
and the evidences of his wisdom may be seen in his treatises, 
which contain a great amount of wisdom expressed in few 
words, and in which you will find many laudations of wisdom, 
and encouragements towards obtaining it. So wise, moreover, 
was Solomon, that " the queen of Sheba, having heard his 
name, and the name of the Lord, came to try him with difiicult 
questions, and spake to him all things, whatsoever were in her 
heart ; and Solomon answered her all her questions. There 
was no question omitted by the king which he did not answer 
her. And the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon, 
and the possessions which he had,^ and there was no more 
spirit in her.* And she said to the king, The report is 
true which I heard in mine own land regarding thee and thy 
wisdom ; and I believed not them who told me, until I had 
come, and mine eyes have seen it. And, lo, they did not tell 
me the half. Thou hast added wisdom and possessions above 
all the report which I heard." ^ It is recorded also of him, that 
" God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding 
much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the 
sea-shore. And the wisdom that was in Solomon greatly 
excelled the wisdom of all the ancients, and of all the wise men 
of Egypt ; and he was wiser than all men, even than Gethan 
the Ezrahite, and Emad, and Chalcadi, and Aradab, the sons 
of Madi. And he was famous among all the nations round 

^ roi oihyi^.O' x.»i rot Kpv(Pioc rvig ao(pia,g gov ihvi7\.aa xg ^o;. 

^ roc, Kur^ ocvrou. * kcc\ I| ocvrvig kyeviro. ^ Cf. 1 Kings X. 1-9. 


about. And Solomon spake three thousand proverbs, and his 
songs were five thousand. And he spake of trees, from the 
cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop which springeth 
out of the wall ; and also of fishes and of beasts. And all 
nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all 
the kinn;s of the earth who had heard of the fame of his 

And to such a degree does the gospel desire that there should 
be wise men am on or believers, that for the sake of exercising 
the understanding of its hearers, it has spoken certain truths 
in enigmas, others in what are called " dark " sayings, others in 
parables, and others in problems.^ And one of the prophets — 
Hosea — says at the end of his prophecies : ^^ Who is wise, and 
he will understand these things'? or prudent, and he shall 
know them ? " ^ Daniel, moreover, and his fellow-captives, 
made such progress in the learning which the wise men around 
the king in Babylon cultivated, that they were shown to excel 
all of them in a tenfold degree. And in the book of Ezekiel 
it is said to the ruler of Tyre, who greatly prided himself on 
his wisdom, " Art thou wiser than Daniel ? Every secret was 
not revealed to thee."* 

Chapter xlvi. 

And if you come to the books written after the time of Jesus, 
you will find that those multitudes of believers who hear the 
parables are, as it were, " without," and worthy only of exoteric 
doctrines, while the disciples learn in private the explanation of 
the parables. For, privately, to His own disciples did Jesus 
open up all things, esteeming above the multitudes those who 
desired to know His wisdom. And He promises to those who 
believe upon Him to send them wise men and scribes, saying, 
" Behold, I will send unto you wise men and scribes, and some 
of them they shall kill and crucify."^ And Paul also, in the 
catalogue of " Charismata" bestowed by God, placed first ^' the 
word of wisdom," and second, as being inferior to it, " the word 

1 Cf. 1 Kings iv. 29-34. The text reads, 'Trspi Truurau ray QuatTiiav rijs 
yTig, for ■which Tctjoot has been substituted. 

2 Kotl &KKa. B/os X|00/3A»j^aTwy. * Hos. X. 9. 

* Cf. Ezek. XX. 3. « Cf. Matt, xxiii. 34. 


of knowledge/' but third, and lower dow^n, " faith." ^ And 
because he regarded " the word " as higher than miraculous 
powers, he for that reason places " workings of miracles " and 
" gifts of healings " in a lower place than the gifts of the word. 
Aqd in the Acts of the Apostles Stephen bears witness to the 
great learning of Moses, which he had obtained wholly from 
ancient writings not accessible to the multitude. For he says : 
"And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians."^ 
And therefore, with respect to his miracles, it was suspected 
that he wrought them perhaps, not in virtue of his professing 
to come from God, but by means of his Egyptian knowledge, 
in which he was w^ell versed. For the king, entertaining such 
a suspicion, summoned the Egyptian magicians, and wise men, 
and enchanters, who were found to be of no avail as against 
the wisdom of Moses, which proved superior to all the wisdom 
of the Egyptians. 

Chapter xlvii. 

But it is probable that what is written by Paul in the First 
Epistle to the Corinthians,^ as being addressed to Greeks who 
prided themselves greatly on their Grecian wisdom, has moved 
some to believe that it' was not the object of the gospel to win 
wise men. Now, let him who is of this opinion understand that 
the gospel, as censuring wicked men, says of them that they 
are wise not in things which relate to the understanding, and 
which are unseen and eternal ; but that in busying themselves 
about things of sense alone, and regarding these as all-important, 
they are wise men of the world : for as there are in existence 
a multitude of opinions, some of them espousing the cause of 
matter and bodies,* and asserting that everything is corporeal 
which has a substantial existence,^ and that besides these nothing 
else exists, whether it be called invisible or incorporeal, it says 
also that these constitute the wisdom of the world, which perishes 
and fades away, and belongs only to this age, while those 
opinions which raise the soul from things here to the blessed- 
ness which is with God, and to His kingdom, and which teach 
men to despise all sensible and visible things as existing only 

1 Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 8. ^ ^^ts vii. 22. » c£_ i Cor. i. 18, etc. . 


for a season, and to hasten on to things invisible, and to have 
regard to those things which are not seen, — these, it says, con- 
stitute the wisdom of God. But Paul, as a lover of truth, says 
of certain wise men among the Greeks, when their statements 
are true, that " although they knew God, they glorified Him 
not as God, neither were thankful." -^ And he bears witness 
that they knew God, and says, too, that this did not happen to 
them without divine permission, in these words : " For God 
showed it unto them;"^ dimly alluding, I think, to those who 
ascend from things of sense to those of the understanding, 
when he adds, *^For the invisible things of God from the 
creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the 
things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead ; 
so that they are without excuse : because that, when they knew 
God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful." ^ 

Chapter xlviii. 

And perhaps also from the words, ^' For ye see your calling, 
brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not 
many mighty, not many noble, are called : but God hath chosen 
the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; and the 
base things, and the things which are despised, hath God chosen, 
and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are, 
that no flesh may glory in His presence ; " * some have been 
led to suppose that no one who is instructed, or wise, or prudent, 
embraces the gospel. Now, in answer to such an one, we would 
say that it has not been stated that "?zo wise man according to the 
flesh," but that " not many wise men according to the flesh," are 
called. It is manifest, further, that amongst the characteristic 
qualifications of those who are termed ^' bishops," Paul, in de- 
scribing what kind of man the bishop ought to be, lays down as 
a qualification that he should also be a teacher, saying that he 
ought to be able to convince the gainsayers, that by the wisdom 
which is in him he may stop the mouths of foolish talkers and 
deceivers.^ And as he selects for the episcopate a man who has 
been once married ^ rather than he who has twice entered the 

1 Cf. Rom. i. 21. 2 Rouj. i. 19. ^ cf. Rom. i. 20-22. 

4 Cf. 1 Cor. i. 26-28. ^ Cf. Tit. i. 9, 10. 

* MouoyoifAou. Cf. Can. Apost. C. xvii. : " o Ivai yuy.ot^ ai/^TrAaxsij fttrd 


married state, and a man of blameless life rather than one who 
is liable to censure, and a sober man rather than one who is not 
such, and a prudent man rather than one who is not prudent, and 
a man whose behaviour is decorous rather than he who is open 
to the charge even of the slightest indecorum, so he desires that 
lie who is to be chosen by preference for the office of a bishop 
should be apt to teach, and able to convince the gainsayers. How 
then can Celsus justly charge us with saying, ^' Let no one come 
to us who is 'instructed,' or '• wise,' or ' prudent ?'" Nay, let him 
who wills come to us "instructed," and "wi,se," and '^prudent;" 
and none the less, if any one be ignorant and unintelligent, 
and uninstructed and foolish, let him also come : for it is these 
whom the gospel promises to cure, when they come, by render- 
ing them all worthy of God. 

Chapter xlix. 

This statement also is untrue, that it is " only foolish and 
low individuals, and persons devoid of perception, and slaves, 
and women, and children, of whom the teachers of the divine 
word wish to make converts." Such indeed does the gospel 
invite, in order to make them better ; but it invites also others 
who are very different from these, since Christ is the Saviour 
of all men, and especially of them that believe, whether they 
be intelligent or simple ; and " He is the propitiation with the 
Father for our sins ; and not for ours only, but also for the 
sins of the whole world." -^ After this it is superfluous for us 
to wish to offer a reply to such statements of Celsus as the 
following : " For why is it an evil to have been educated, and 
to have studied the best opinions, and to have both the reality 
and appearance of wisdom? What hindrance does this offer 
to the knowledge of God ? Why should it not rather be an 
assistance, and a means by which one might be better able to 
arrive at the truth ? " Truly it is no evil to have been educated, 
for education is the way to virtue ; but to rank those amongst 
the number of the educated who hold erroneous opinions is 

fivTipos, 7i ^txKouog, jj oT^ug Tov KOiTotTioyov Toy UpciTiKou.^^ Cf. note in Bene- 
dictine ed. 
1 Cf . 1 John ii. 2. 


what even the wise men among the Greeks would not do. On 
the other hand, who would not admit that to have studied the 
best opinions is a blessing ? But what shall we call the best, 
save those which are true, and which incite men to virtue? More- 
over, it is an excellent thing for a man to he wise, but not to 
seem so, as Celsus says. And it is no hindrance to the know- 
ledge of God, but an assistance, to have been educated, and to 
have studied the best opinions, and to be wise. And it becomes 
us rather than Celsus to say this, especially if it be shown that 
he is an Epicurean. 

Chapter l. 

But let us see what those statements of his are which follow 
next in these words : " Nay, we see, indeed, that even those 
individuals, who in the market-places perform the most dis- 
graceful tricks, and who gather crowds around them, would 
never approach an assembly of wise men, nor dare to exhibit 
their arts among them ; but wherever they see young men, 
and a mob of slaves, and a gathering of unintelligent persons, 
thither they thrust themselves in, and show themselves off." 
Observe, now, how he slanders us in these words, comparing us 
to those who in the market-places perform the most disreputable 
tricks, and gather crowds around them! What disreputable 
tricks, pray, do we perform ? Or what is there in ow?' conduct 
that resembles theirs, seeing that by means of readings, and 
explanations of the things read, we lead men to the worship 
of the God of the universe, and to the cognate virtues, and 
turn them away from contemning Deity, and from all things 
contrary to right reason? Philosophers verily would wish 
to collect together such hearers of their discourses as exhort 
men to virtue, — a practice which certain, of the Cynics especially 
have followed, who converse publicly with those whom they 
happen to meet. Will they maintain, then, that these who do 
not gather together persons who are considered to have been 
educated, but who invite and assemble hearers from the public 
street, resemble those who in the market-places perform the most 
disreputable tricks, and gather crowds around them ? Neither 
Celsus, however, nor any one who holds the same opinions, 
will blame those who, agreeably to what they regard as a feel- 


ing of philanthropy, address their arguments to the ignorant 

Chapter li. 

And if they are not to be blamed for so doing, let us see 
whether Christians do not exhort multitudes to the practice of 
virtue in a greater and better degree than they. For the 
philosophers who converse in public do not pick and choose 
their hearers, but he who likes stands and listens. The Chris- 
tians, however, having previously, so far as possible, tested the 
souls of those who wish to become their hearers, and having 
previously instructed^ them in private, when they appear 
(before entering the community) to have sufficiently evinced 
their desire towards a virtuous life, introduce them then, and 
not before, privately forming one class of those who are be- 
ginners, and are receiving admission, but who have not yet 
obtained the mark of complete purification ; and another of 
those who have manifested to the best of their ability their 
intention to desire no other things than are approved by Chris- 
tians ; and among these there are certain persons appointed 
to make inquiries regarding the lives and behaviour of those 
who join them, in order that they may prevent those who 
commit acts of infamy from coming into their public assem- 
bly, while those of a different character they receive with their 
whole heart, in order that they may daily make them better. 
And this is their method of procedure, both with those who 
are sinners, and especially with those who lead dissolute lives, 
whom they exclude from their community, although, according 
to Celsus, they resemble those who in the market-places per- 
form the most shameful tricks. Now the venerable school of 
the Pythagoreans used to erect a cenotaph to those who had 
apostatized from their system of philosophy, treating them as 
dead ; but the Christians lament as dead those who have been 
vanquished by licentiousness or any other sin, because they are 
lost and dead to God, and as being risen from the dead (if 
they manifest a becoming change) they receive them after- 
wards, at some future time, after a greater interval than in 
the case of those who were admitted at first, but not placing 


in any office or post of rank in the church of God those who, 
after professing the gospel, lapsed and fell. 

Chapter lii. 

Observe now with regard to the following statement of Celsus, 
" We see also those persons who in the market-places perform 
most disreputable tricks, and collect crowds around them," 
whether a manifest falsehood has not been uttered, and things 
compared which have no resemblance. He says that these indi- 
viduals, to w^hom he compares us, who *^ perform the most dis- 
reputable tricks in the market-places and collect crowds, would 
never approach an assembly of wise men, nor dare to show off 
their tricks before them ; but wherever they see young men, and 
a mob of slaves, and a gathering of foolish people, thither do 
they thrust themselves in and make a display." Now, in 
speaking thus he does nothing else than simply load us with 
abuse, like the women upon the public streets, whose object is 
to slander one another ; for we do everything in our power 
to secure that our meetings should be composed of wise men, 
and those things among us which are especially excellent and 
divine we then venture to bring forward publicly in our discus- 
sions when we have an abundance of intelligent hearers, while 
we conceal and pass by in silence the truths of deeper import 
when we see that our audience is composed of simpler minds, 
which need such instruction as is figuratively termed " milk." 

Chapter liii. 

For the word is used by our Paul in writing to the Corin- 
thians, who were Greeks, and not yet purified in their morals : 
^' I have fed you with milk, not with meat ; for hitherto ye 
were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able, for ye 
are yet carnal : for whereas there is among you envying and 
strife, are ye not carnal, and walk as men ?" Now the same 
writer, knowing that there was a certain kind of nourishment 
better adapted for the soul, and that the food of those young * 
persons who were admitted was compared to milk, continues : 
" And ye are become such as have need of milk, and not of 
strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the 


word of righteousness ; for he is a babe. But strong meat 
belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by 
reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good 
and evil." ^ Would then those who believe these words to be 
well spoken, suppose that the noble doctrines of our faith would 
never be mentioned in an assembly of wise men, but that 
wherever [our instructors] see young men, and a mob of slaves, 
and a collection of foolish individuals, they bring publicly 
forward divine and venerable truths, and before such persons 
make a display of themselves in treating of them ? But it 
is clear to him who examines the whole spirit of oar writings, 
that Celsus is animated with a hatred against the human race 
resembling that of the ignorant populace, and gives utterance 
to these falsehoods without examination. 

Chapter liv. 

We acknowledge, however, although Celsus will not have it 
so, that we do desire to instruct all men in the word of God, 
so as to give to young men the exhortations which are appro- 
priate to them, and to show to slaves how they may recover 
freedom of thought,^ and be ennobled by the word. And those 
amongst us who are the ambassadors of Christianity sufficiently 
declare that they are debtors^ to Greeks and barbarians, to 
wise men and fools, (for they do not deny their obligation to 
cure the souls even of foolish persons,) in order that as far as 
possible they may lay aside their ignorance, and endeavour to 
obtain greater prudence, by listening also to the words of Solo- 
mon: "Oh, ye fools, be of an understanding heart,"* and "Who 
is the most simple among you, let him turn unto me;" ^ and 
wisdom exhorts those who are devoid of understanding in the 
words, "Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I 
have mixed for you. Forsake folly that ye may live, and 
correct understanding in knowledge."^ This too would I say 
(seeing it bears on the point),^ in answer to the statement of 
Celsus : Do not philosophers invite young men to their lectures ? 
and do they not encourage young men to exchange a wicked 

^ Heb. V. 12-14. ^ I'hsvhpou duu'hx/Boursg (^pouyiincc. 

8 Cf. Rom. i. 14. * Cf. Prov. viii. 5. « Cf. Prov. ix. 4. 

^ Cf. Prov. ix. 5, (). ^ ^foi TK syKiifisux. 


life for a better ? and do they not desire slaves to learn philo- 
sophy ? Must we find fault, then, with philosophers who have 
exhorted slaves to the practice of virtue ? with Pythagoras for 
having so done with Zamo.lxis, Zeno with Perseus, and with those 
who recently encouraged Epictetus to the study of philosophy! 
Is it indeed permissible for you, O Greeks, to call youths and 
slaves and foolish persons to the study of philosophy, but if we 
do so, we do not act from philanthropic motives in wishing to 
heal every rational nature with the medicine of reason, and to 
bring them into fellowship wdth God, the Creator of all things ? 
These remarks, then, may suffice in answer to what are slanders 
rather than accusations ^ on the part of Celsus. 

Chapter lv. 

But as Celsus delights to heap up calumnies against us, and, 
in addition to those which he has already uttered, has added 
others, let us examine these also, and see whether it be the 
Christians or Celsus who have reason to be ashamed of what is 
said. He asserts, ^^ We see, indeed, in private houses workers 
in wool and leather, and fullers, and persons of the most 
uninstracted and rustic character, not venturing to utter a 
word in the presence of their elders and wiser masters ; ^ but 
when they get hold of the children privately, and certain 
women as ignorant as themselves, they pour forth wonderful 
statements, to the effect that they ought not to give heed to 
their father and to their teachers, but should obey them ; that 
the former are foolish and stupid, and neither know nor can 
perform anything that is really good, being preoccupied with 
empty trifles ; that thei/ alone know how men ought to live, 
and that, if the children obey them, they will both be happy 
themselves, and will make their home happy also. And while 
thus speaking, if they see one of the instructors of youth 

^ "hoihoplcc? f^SiXKou 5j KxrYiyopiag. 

2 The allusion is to the practice of wealthy Greeks and Eomans having 
among their slaves artificers of various kinds, for whose service there was 
constant demand in the houses and villas of the rich, and who therefore 
had their residence in or near the dwelling of their master. Many of these 
artificers seem, from the language of Celsus, to have been converts to 


approaching, or one of the more intelligent class, or even the 
father himself, the more timid among them become afraid, 
while the more forward incite the children to throw off the 
yoke, whispering that in the presence of father and teachers 
they neither will nor can explain to them any good thing, 
seeing they turn away with aversion from the silliness and 
stupidity of such persons as being altogether corrupt, and far 
advanced in wickedness, and such as would inflict punishment 
upon them ; but that if they wish [to avail themselves of their 
aid,] they must leave their father and their instructors, and go 
with the women and their playfellows to the women's apart- 
ments, or to the leather shop, or to the fuller's shop, that they 
may attain to perfection ; — and by words like these they gain 
them over." 

Chapter lvi. 

Observe now how by such statements he depreciates those 
amongst us who are teachers of the word, and who strive in 
every way to raise the soul to the Creator of all things, and 
who show that we ought to despise things "sensible," and 
" temporal," and " visible," and to do our utmost to reach 
communion with God, and the contemplation of things that 
are " intelligent," and " invisible," and a blessed life with God, 
and the friends of God ; comparing them to " workers in wool 
in private houses, and to leather-cutters, and to fullers, and to 
the most rustic of mankind, who carefully incite young boys to 
wickedness, and women to forsake their fathers and teachers, 
and follow them." Now let Celsus point out from what wise 
parent, or from what teachers, we keep away children and 
women, and let him ascertain by comparison among those 
children and women who are adherents of our doctrine, whether 
any of the opinions which they formerly heard are better than 
ours, and in what manner we draw away children and women 
from noble and venerable studies, and incite them to worse 
things. But he will not be able to make good any such charge 
against us, seeing that, on the contrary, we turn away women 
from a dissolute life, and from being at variance with those 
with whom they live, from all mad desires after theatres and 
dancing, and from superstition; while we train to habits of self- 


restraint boys just reaching the age of puberty, and feeling a 
desire for sexual pleasures, pointing out to them not only the 
disgrace which attends those sins, but also the state to which 
the soul of the wicked is reduced through practices of that 
kind, and the judgments which it will suffer, and the punish- 
ments which will be inflicted. 

Chapter lvii. 

But who are the teachers whom we call triflers and fools, 
whose defence is undertaken by Celsus, as of those who teach 
better things ? [I know not,] unless he deem those to be good 
instructors of women, and no triflers, who invite them to super- 
stition and to unchaste spectacles, and those, moreover, to be 
teachers not devoid of sense who lead young men to the com- 
munion of all those disorderly acts which we know are often 
committed by them. We indeed call away these also, as far as 
we can, from the dogmas of philosophy to our worship of God, 
by showing forth its excellence and purity. But as Celsus, by 
his statements, has declared that we do not do so, but that we 
call only the foolish, I would say to him, " If you had charged 
us with withdrawing from the study of philosophy those who 
were already preoccupied with it, you would not have spoken 
the truth, and yet your charge would have had an appearance 
of probability ; but when you now say that we draw away our 
adherents from good teachers, show who are those other 
teachers save the teachers of philosophy, or those who have been 
appointed to give instruction in some useful branch of study." ^ 

He will be unable, however, to show any such ; while we 
promise, openly and not in secret, that they will be happy w^ho 
live according to the word of God, and who look to Him in all 
things, and who do everything, whatever it is, as if in the pre- 
sence of God. Are these the instructions of workers in wool, 
and of leather-cutters, and fullers, and uneducated rustics? 
But such an assertion he cannot make good. 

Chapter lviii. 
But those who, in the opinion of Celsus, resemble the 

^ rovg xxrx rl rau p^^jjff/^^ji/ 'TrfTrotYifAivovs. 


workers in wool in private houses, and the leather-cutters, and 
fullers, and uneducated rustics, will, he alleges, in the presence 
of father or teachers be unwilling to speak, or unable to explain 
to the boys anything that is good. In answer to which, we 
would say. What kind of father, my good sir, and what kind of 
teacher, do you mean? If you mean one who approves of 
virtue, and turns away from vice, and welcomes what is better, 
then know, that with the greatest boldness will we declare our 
opinions to the children, because we will be in good repute with 
such a judge. But if, in the presence of a father who has a 
hatred of virtue and goodness, we keep silence, and also before 
those who teach what is contrary to sound doctrine, do not blame 
us for so doing, since you will blame us without good reason. 
You, at all events, in a case where fathers deemed the mysteries 
of philosophy an idle and unprofitable occupation for their sons, 
and for young men in general, would not, in teaching philosophy, 
make known its secrets before worthless parents ; but, desiring 
to keep apart those sons of wicked parents who had been turned 
towards the study of philosophy, you would observe the proper 
seasons, in order that the doctrines of philosophy might reach 
the minds of the young men. And we say the same regarding 
our teachers. For if we turn [our hearers] away from those 
instructors who teach obscene comedies and licentious iambics, 
and many other things which neither improve the speaker nor 
benefit the hearers (because the latter do not know how to listen 
to poetry in a philosophic frame of mind, nor the former how to 
say to each of the young men what tends to his profit), we are 
not, in following such a course, ashamed to confess what we do. 
But if you will show me teachers who train young men for 
philosophy, and who exercise them in it, I will not from such 
turn away young men, but will try to raise them, as those who 
have been previously exercised in the whole circle of learning 
and in philosophical subjects, to the venerable and lofty height 
of eloquence which lies hid from the multitude of Christians, 
where are discussed topics of the greatest importance, and where 
it is demonstrated and shown that they have been treated philo- 
sophically both by the prophets of God and the apostles of 


Chapter lix. 

Immediately after this, Celsus, perceiving that he has slan- 
dered us with too great bitterness, as if by way of defence 
expresses himself as follows : " That I bring no heavier charge 
than what the truth compels me, any one may see from the 
following remarks. Those who invite to participation in other 
mysteries, make proclamation as follows : ^ Every one who has 
clean hands, and a prudent tongue;'^ others again thus: 'He 
who is pure from all pollution, and whose soul is conscious of no 
evil, and who has lived well and justly.' Such is the proclama- 
tion made by those who promise purification from sins. But let 
us hear what kind of persons these Christians invite. Every 
one, they say, who is a sinner, who is devoid of understanding, 
who is a child, and, to speak gen'ferally, whoever is unfortunate, 
him will the kingdom of God receive. Do you not call him a 
sinner, then, who is unjust, and a thief, and a housebreaker, and 
a poisoner, and a committer of sacrilege, and a robber of the 
dead ? What others would a man invite if he were issuing a 
proclamation for an assembly of robbers?" Now, in answer to 
such statements, we say that it is not the same thing to invite 
those who are sich in soul to be cured, and those w^ho are iu 
health to the knowledge and study of divine things. We, how- 
ever, keeping both these things in view, at first invite all men 
to be healed, and exhort those who are sinners to come to the 
consideration of the doctrines which teach men not to sin, and 
those who are devoid of understanding to those which beget 
wisdom, and those who are children to rise in their thoughts to 
manhood, and those who are simply^ unfortunate to good 
fortune,^ or — which is the more appropriate term to use — to 
blessedness.^ And when those who have been turned towards 
virtue have made progress, and h^ve shown that they have been 
purified by the word, and have led as far as they can a better 
life, then and not before do we invite them to participation in 
our mysteries. " For we speak wisdom among them that are 
_ perfect."^ 

* (AUKctpiornroi. ^ Cf. 1 Cor. ii. 6. 


Chapter lx. 

And as we teach, moreover, that '^ wisdom will not enter 
into the soul of a base man, nor dwell in a body that is involved 
in sin," ^ we say, Whoever has clean hands, and therefore lifts 
up holy hands to God, and by reason of being occupied with 
elevated and heavenly things, can say, " The lifting up of my 
hands is as the evening sacrifice," ^ let him come to us ; and 
whoever has a wise tongue through meditating on the law of 
the Lord day and night, and by "reason of habit has his senses 
exercised to discern between good and evil," let him have no 
reluctance in coming to the strong and rational sustenance 
which is adapted to those who are athletes in piety and every 
virtue. And since the grace of God is with all those who love 
with a pure affection the teaciher of the doctrines of immor- 
tality, whoever is pure not only from all defilement, but from 
what are regarded as lesser transgressions, let him be boldly 
initiated in the mysteries of Jesus, which properly are made 
known only to the holy and the pure. The initiated of Celsus 
accordingly says, " Let him whose soul is conscious of no evil 
come." But he who acts as initiator, according to the precepts 
of Jesus, will say to those who have been purified in heart, 
" He whose soul has, for a long time, been conscious of no evil, 
and especially since he yielded himself to the healing of the 
word, let such an one hear the doctrines which were spoken in 
private by Jesus to His genuine disciples." Therefore in the 
comparison which he institutes between the procedure of the 
initiators into the Grecian mysteries, and the teachers of the 
doctrine of Jesus, he does not know the difference between 
inviting the wicked to be healed, and initiating those already 
purified into the sacred mysteries ! 

Chapter lxi. 

Not to participation in mysteries, then, and to fellow sliip in 
the ivisdom Jiidden in a mystery, which God ordained before the 
world to the glory of His saints,^ do we invite the ivicked man, 
and the tJiiefj and the JiousebreaJcerj and the poisoner, and the 
committer of sacrilege^ and the plunderer of the dead, and all 

I Wisd. Solom. i. 4. 2 cf. Ps. cxli. 2. 3 Cf. 1 Cor. ii. 7. 


those others whom Celsus may enumerate in his exaggeratintr 
I style, but such as these we invite to be healed. For there are 
in the divinity of the word some helps towards the cure of those 
who are sick, respecting which the word says, " They that be 
whole need not a physician, but they that are sick ; " ^ others, 
again, which to the pure in soul and body exhibit " the revela- 
tion of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world 
began, but now is made manifest by the Scriptures of the pro- 
phets," ^ and " by the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ," ^ 
which "appearing" is manifested to each one of those who 
are perfect, and which enlightens the reason* in the true^ 
knowledge of things. But as he exaggerates the charges against 
us, adding, after his list of those vile individuals whom he has 
mentioned, this remark, " What other persons would a robber 
summon to himself by proclamation?" we answer such a 
question by saying that a robber summons around him indivi- 
duals of such a character, in order to make use of their villany 
against the men whom they desire to slay and plunder. A 
Christian, on the other hand, even though he invite those whom 
the robber invites, invites them to a very different vocation, 
viz. to bind up these wounds by His word, and to apply to the 
soul, festering amid evils, the drugs obtained from the word, 
and which are analogous to the wine and oil, and plasters, and 
other healing appliances which belong to the art of medicine. 

Chapter lxii. 

In the next place, throwing a slur ^ upon the exhortations 
spoken and written to those who have led wicked lives, and 
which invite them to repentance and reformation of heart, he 
asserts that we say " that it was to sinners that God has been 
sent." Now this statement of his is much the same as if he 
were to find fault with certain persons for saying that on 
account of the sick who were living in a city, a physician had 
been sent them by a very benevolent monarch. God the Word 
was sent, indeed, as a physician to sinners, but as a teacher of 
divine mysteries to those who are already pure and who sin no 
more. But Celsus, unable to see this distinction, — for he had no 

1 Matt. ix. 12. 2 Rorn. xvi. 25, 26. ^ cf. 2 Tim. ii. 10. 


desire to be animated with a love of truth, — remarks, " Why 
was he not sent to those who were without sin ? What evil is 
it not to have committed sin ? " To which we reply, that if by 
those "who were without sin" he means those who sin no 
more, then our Saviour Jesus was sent even to such, but not 
as a physician. While if by those " who were without sin" he 
means such as have never at any time sinned, — for he made no 
distinction in his statement, — we reply that it is impossible for 
a man thus to be without sin. And this we say, excepting, of 
course, the man understood to be in Christ Jesus,^ who " did no 
sin." It is with a malicious intent, indeed, that Celsus says of 
us that we assert that " God will receive the unrighteous man 
if he humble himself on account of his wickedness, but that 
He will not receive the righteous man, although he look up to 
Him, [adorned] with virtue from the beginning." Now we assert 
that it is impossible for a man to look up to God [adorned] 
with virtue from the beginning. For wickedness must neces- 
sarily first exist in men. As Paul also says, " When the com- 
mandment came, sin revived, and I died."^ Moreover, we do 
not teach regarding the unrighteous man, that it is sufficient 
for him to humble himself on account of his wickedness in 
order to his being accepted by God, but that God will accept 
him if, after passing condemnation upon himself for his past 
conduct, he walk humbly on account of it, and in a becoming 
manner for the time to come. 

Chapter lxiii. 

After this, not understanding how it has been said that 
" every one who exalteth himself shall be abased ; " ^ nor 
(although taught even by Plato) that " the good and virtuous 
man walketh humbly and orderly;" and ignorant, moreover, that 
we give the injunction, " Hmnble yourselves, therefore, under 
the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time ;"* 
he says that " those persons who preside properly over a trial 
make those individuals who bewail before them their evil deeds 
to cease from their piteous wailings, lest their decisions should 
be determined rather by compassion than by a regard to truth ; 

^ C'Tre^ocfpofieuov rou kcctx rou Znaovu uoovf^suov ccudpu'Trov. 

2 Rom. vii. 9. ^ cf, ;^Xatt. xxiii. 12. * 1 Pet. v. 6. 


whereas God does not decide in accordance with truth, but in 
accordance with flattery." ^ Now, what words of flattery and 
piteous wailing are contained in the Holy Scriptures when the 
sinner says in his prayers to God, " I have acknowledged my 
sin, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my 
transgression to the Lord," etc. etc. ? For is he able to show 
that a procedure of this kind is not adapted to the conversion of 
sinners, who humble themselves in their prayers under the hand 
of God ? And, becoming confused by his effort to accuse us, 
he contradicts himself ; appearing at one time to know a man 
"without sin," and '' a righteous man, who can look up to God 
[adorned] with virtue from the beginning;" and at another 
time accepting our statement that there is no man altogether 
righteous, or without sin ; ^ for, as if he admitted its truth, he 
remarks, " This is indeed apparently true, that somehow the 
human race is naturally inclined to sin." In the next place, as 
if all men were not invited by the word, he says, ^^ All men, 
then, without distinction, ought to be invited, since all indeed 
are sinners." And yet, in the preceding pages, we have pointed 
out the words of Jesus : "Come unto me, all ye that labour and 
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." ^ All men, there- 
fore, labouring and being heavy laden on account of the nature 
of sin, are invited to the rest spoken of in the word of God, 
" for God sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them 
from their destructions." * 

Chapter lxiv. 

But since he says, in addition to this, "What is this pre- 
ference of sinners over others ? " and makes other remarks 
of a similar nature, we have to reply that absolutely a 
sinner is not preferred before one who is not a sinner ; 
but that sometimes a sinner, who has become conscious of 
his own sin, and for that reason comes to repentance, being 
humbled on account of his sins, is preferred before one 

^ 'rrpog KoT^XKCictu. 

2 In the text it is put interrogatively : rl; oiudpa'^os rshiag h'xx4o;; sj rt's 
duoii^ocpmro; ; The allusion seems to be to Job xv. 14 : rig yotp uv fipoTOs, 
on iijTcci oif^sy^TTTo; ; ij ag lao/^suog oiKcctog ysvuriTog yvuxiKog. 

8 Matt. xi. 28. * Ps. cvii. 20. 


who is accounted a lesser sinner, but who does not consider 
himself one, but exalts himself on the ground of certain good 
qualities which he thinks he possesses, and is greatly elated 
on their account. And this is manifest to those who are 
willing to peruse the Gospels in a spirit of fairness, by the 
parable of the publican, who said, ^"Be merciful to me a 
sinner,"^ and of the Pharisee who boasted with a certain wicked 
self-conceit in the words, " I thank Thee that I am not as other 
men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this pub- 
lican." ^ For Jesus subjoins to His narrative of them both the 
words : " This man went down to his house justified rather 
than the other : for every one that exalteth himself shall be 
abased ; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." ^ We 
utter no blasphemy, then, against God, neither are we guilty of 
falsehood, when we teach that every man, whoever he may be, is 
conscious of human infirmity in comparison with the greatness 
of God, and that we must ever ask from Him, who alone is able to 
supply our deficiencies, what is wanting to our [mortal] nature. 

Chapter lxv. 

He imagines, however, that we utter these exhortations for 
the conversion of sinners, because we are able to gain over no 
one who is really good and righteous, and therefore open our 
gates to the most unholy and abandoned of men. But if any 
one will fairly observe our assemblies, w^e can present a greater 
number of those who have been converted from not a very 
wicked life, than of those who have committed the most 
abominable sins. For naturally those who are conscious to 
themselves of better things, desire that those promises may be 
true which are declared by God regarding the reward of the 
righteous, and thus assent more readily to the statements [of 
Scripture] than those do who have led very wicked lives, and 
who are prevented by their very consciousness [of evil] from 
admitting that they will be punished by the Judge of all with 
such punishment as befits those who have sinned so greatl}', and 
as would not be inflicted by the Judge of all contrary to right 
reason.^ Sometimes, also, when very abandoned men are willing 

^ Luke xviii. 13. ^ Luke xviii. 11. ^ Luke xviii. 14. 

* x.u,\ (jv TTupoi rov 6p6ov "Koyov 'Trpoaxyono ii'Tro tw S'tti "Koiai ^ix,xarov. 


to accept the doctrine of [future] punishment, on account of 
the hope which is based upon repentance, they are prevented 
from so doing by their habit of sinning, being constantly 
dipped, and, as it were, dyed in wickedness, and possessing no 
longer the power to turn from it easily to a proper life, and 
one regulated according to right reason. And although Celsus 
observes this, he nevertheless, I know not why, expresses him- 
self in the following terms : " And yet, indeed, it is manifest 
to every one that no one by chastisement, much less by merciful 
treatment, could effect a complete change in those who are 
sinners both by nature and custom, for to change nature is an 
exceedingly difficult thing. But they who are without sin are 
partakers of a better life." 

Chapter lxvi. 

Now here Celsus appears to me to have committed a great 
error, in refusing to those who are sinners by nature, and also 
by habit, the possibility of a complete transformation, alleging 
that they cannot be cured even by punishment. For it clearly 
appears that all men are inclined to sin by nature, and some 
not only by nature but by practice, while not all men are incap- 
able of an entire transformation. For there are found in every 
philosophical sect, and in the word of God, persons who are 
related to have undergone so great a change that they may be 
proposed as a model of excellence of life. Among the names 
of the heroic age some mention Hercules and Ulysses, among 
those of later times, Socrates, and of those who have lived very 
recently, Musonius.^ Not only against us, then, did Celsus 
utter the calumny, when he said that " it was manifest to every 
one that those who were given to sin by nature and habit 
could not by any means — even by punishments — be completely 
changed for the better," but also against the noblest names in 
philosophy, who have not denied that the recovery of virtue was 
a possible thing for men. But although he did not express his 
meaning with exactness, we shall nevertheless, though giving his 
words a more favourable construction, convict him of unsound 
reasoning. For his words were : " Those who are inclined to 

^ He is said to have been either a Babylonian or Tyrrhenian, and to have 
lived in the reign of Nero. Cf. Philostratus, iv. 12.— Ruj:us. 


sin by nature and habit, no one could completely reform even i 
by chastisement ; " and his words, as we understood them, we 
refuted to the best of our ability.-^ 

Chapter lxvii. 

It is probable, however, that he meant to convey some such 
meaning as this, that those who were both by nature and habit 
given to the commission of those sins which are committed by 
the most abandoned of men, could not be completely trans- 
formed even by punishment. And yet this is shown to be false 
from the history of certain philosophers. For who is there that 
would not rank among the most abandoned of men the indivi- 
dual who somehow submitted to yield himself to his master, 
when he placed him in a brothel,^ that he might allow himself 
to be polluted by any one who liked ? And yet such a circum- 
stance is related of Phaedo ! And who will not agree that he 
who burst, accompanied with a flute-player and a party of 
revellers, his profligate associates, into the school of the vener- 
able Xenocrates, to insult a man who was the admiration of his 
friends, was not one of the greatest miscreants^ among man- 
kind ? Yet, notwithstanding this, reason was powerful enough 
to effect their conversion, and to enable them to make such 
progress in philosophy, that the one was deemed worthy by 
Plato to recount the discourse of Socrates on immortality, and 
to record his firmness in prison, when he evinced his contempt 
of the hemlock, and with all fearlessness and tranquillity of 
mind treated of subjects so numerous and important, that it is 
difficult even for those to follow them who are giving their 
utmost attention, and who are disturbed by no distraction ; while 
Polemon, on the other hand, who from a profligate became a 
man of most temperate life, was successor in the school of Xeno- 
crates, so celebrated for his venerable character. Celsus then 
does not speak the truth when he says " that sinners by nature 
and habit cannot be completely reformed even by chastisement." 

Chapter lxviii. 
That philosophical discourses, however, distinguished by 

^ iTiri riyavg. ^ fiiccpurxTOu oivQpu'Xuv, 


orderly arrangement and elegant expression/ should produce 
such results in the case of those individuals just enumerated, 
and upon others ^ who have led wicked lives, is not at all to be 
wondered at. But when we consider that those discourses, 
which Celsus terms " vulgar," ^ are filled with power, as if they 
were spells, and see that they at once convert multitudes from 
ife of licentiousness to one of extreme regularity,* and from 
a life of wickedness to a better, and from a state of cowardice 
or unmanliness to one of such high-toned courage as to lead 
men to despise even death through the piety which shows itself 
within them, why should we not justly admire the power which 
they contain ? For the words of those who at the first assumed 
the office of [Christian] ambassadors, and who gave their 
labours to rear up the churches of God, — nay, their preaching 
also, — were accompanied with a persuasive power, though not 
like that found among those who profess the philosophy of 
Plato, or of any other merely human philosopher, which pos- 
sesses no other qualities than those of human nature. But the 
demonstration which followed the words of the apostles of 
Jesus was given from God, and was accredited ^ by the Spirit 
and by power. And therefore their word ran swiftly and 
speedily, or rather the word of God through their instrumen- 
tality, transformed numbers of persons who had been sinners 
30th by nature and habit, whom no one could have reformed 
)y punishment, but who were changed by the word, which 
moulded and transformed them according to its pleasure. 

Chapter lxix. 

Celsus continues in his usual manner, asserting that " to 
hange a nature entirely is exceedingly difficult." We, how- 
ever, who know of only one nature in every rational soul, and 
who maintain that none has been created evil by the Author of 
all things, but that many have become wicked through educa- 
tion, and perverse example, and surrounding influences,^ so 

^ 'AA/.«« T'^y f^iv rcc^iu xxi GvyOsaiu kcci (ppaatu ruu 0,7:0 (Pi7^oao(pIec; T^oycou. 
2 The reading in the text is oi7s.-ha^g, for which aAXoy? has been conjectured 
by Ruaeus and Boherellus, and which has been adopted in the translation. 
^ ihiartKovg. * evaTccSiarocTOU. ^ marix,^ cctto TruiVfcuros. 

* TTfitjOa raj dvotrpo^ug, kci\ toc; 'hidarpo^poig^ kxI rug TreptioXi^tO^stg, 


that wickedness has been naturalized^ in some individuals, are 
persuaded that for the word of God to change a nature in 
which evil has been naturalized is not only not impossible, but 
is even a work of no very great difficulty, if a man only believe 
that he must entrust himself to the God of all things, and do 
everything with a view to please Him with whom 

" Both good and bad are not in the same honour, 
Nor do the idle man and he who has laboured much 
Perish alike." 2 

But even if it be exceedingly difficult to effect a change in 
some persons, the cause must be held to lie in their own will, 
which is reluctant to accept the belief that the God over all 
things is a just Judge of all the deeds done during life. For 
deliberate choice and practice ^ avail much towards the accom- 
plishment of things which appear to be very difficult, and, to 
speak hyperbolically, almost impossible. Has the nature of 
man, when desiring to walk along a rope extended in the air 
through the middle of the theatre, and to carry at the same 
time numerous and heavy weights, been able by practice and 
attention to accomplish such a feat ; but when desiring to live 
in conformity with the practice of virtue, does it find it impos- 
sible to do so, although formerly it may have been exceedingly 
wicked ? See whether he who holds such views does not bring 
a charge against the nature of the Creator of the rational 
animal* rather than against the creature, if He has formed the 
nature of man with powers for the attainment of things of such 
difficulty, and of no utility whatever, but has rendered it in- 
capable of securing its own blessedness. But these remarks may 
suffice as an answer to the assertion that " entirely to change 
a nature is exceedingly difficult." He alleges, in the next place, 
that ^Hhey who are without sin are partakers of a better life ;" 
not making it clear what he means by " those who are without 
sin," whether those who are so from the beginning [of their 
lives], or those who become so by a transformation. Of those 
who were so from the beginning of their lives, there cannot 
possibly be any ; while those who are so after a transformation 
[of heart] are found to be few in number, being those who 

1 (pvatcod^vxi. 2 cf. Iliad, ix. 319, 320. 


have become so after giving in their allegiance to the saving 
word. And they were not such when they gave in their alle- 
giance. For, apart from the aid of the word, and that too the 
word of perfection, it is impossible for a man to become free 
from sin. 

Chapter lxx. 

In the next place, he objects to the statement, as if it were 
maintained by us, that ^' God will be able to do all things," not 
seeing even here how these words are meant, and what " the 
all things " are which are included in it, and how it is said that 
God " will be able." But on these matters it is not necessary 
now to speak ; for although he might with a show of reason 
have opposed this proposition, he has not done so. Perhaps 
he did not understand the arguments which might be plausibly 
used against it, or if he did, he saw the answers that might be 
returned. Now in our judgment God can do everything which 
it is possible for Him to do without ceasing to be God, and 
good, and wise. But Celsus asserts — not comprehending the 
meaning of the expression " God can do all things " — " that 
He will not desire to do anything wicked," admitting that He 
has the power ^ but not the will, to commit evil. We, on the 
contrary, maintain that as that which by nature possesses the 
property of sweetening other things through its own inherent 
sweetness cannot produce bitterness contrary to its own pecu- 
liar nature,^ nor that whose nature it is to produce light 
through its being light can cause darkness ; so neither is God 
able to commit wickedness, for the power of doing evil is con- 
trary to His deity and its omnipotence. Whereas if any one 
among existing things is able to commit wickedness from being 
inclined to wickedness by nature, it does so from not having in 
its nature the ability not to do evil. 

Chapter lxxi. 

He next assumes w^hat is not granted by the more rational 
class of believers, but what perhaps is considered to be true 
by some who are devoid of intelligence, — viz. that " God, like 

^ eoa'Tirip ov Ovvxrctt to TTiCpVyCog •y'KvKXivilv ru yT^viCV rvy/^cyjziit TTiKpec^nUf 
voipsc TTiu uvrov fioy/ju ochidu. 


those who are overcome with pity, being Himself overcome, 
alleviates the sufferings of the wicked through pity for their 
>vailings, and casts off the good, who do nothing of that kind, 
which is the height of injustice." Now, in our judgment, God 
lightens the suffering of no wicked man w^ho has not betaken 
himself to a virtuous life, and casts off no one who is already 
good, nor yet alleviates the suffering of any one who mourns, 
simply because he utters lamentation, or takes pity upon him, 
to use the word pity in its more common acceptation.^ But 
those who have passed severe condemnation upon themselves 
because of their sins, and who, as on that account, lament and 
bewail themselves as lost, so far as their previous conduct is 
concerned, and who have manifested a satisfactory change, are 
received by God on account of their repentance, as those who 
have undergone a transformation from a life of great wicked- 
ness. For virtue, taking up her abode in the souls of these 
persons, and expelling the wickedness which had previous pos- 
session of them, produces an oblivion of the past. And even 
although virtue do not effect an entrance, yet if a considerable 
progress take place in the soul, even that is sufficient, in the pro- 
portion that it is progressive, to drive out and destroy the flood 
of w^ickedness, so that it almost ceases to remain in the soul. 

Chapter lxxii. 

In the next place, speaking as in the person of a teacher 
of our doctrine, he expresses himself as follows : " Wise men 
reject what w^e say, being led into error, and ensnared by their 
wisdom." In reply to which we say that, since wisdom is the 
knowledge of divine and human things and of their causes, or, 
as it is defined by the word of God, " the breath of the power 
of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the 
Almighty, and the brightness of the everlasting light, and the 
unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of His 
goodness,"^ no one w^ho was really wise would reject what is said 
by a Christian acquainted with the principles of Christianityj 
or would be led into error, or ensnared by it. For true wisdom 
does not mislead, but ignorance does, while of existing things 

^ 'ivoc KOivorspov rut I'Kssi y^pviacufAa.1. 
2 Cf^ ^Yisd. of Solom. vii. 25, 26. 


knowledge alone is permanent, and the truth which is derived 
from wisdom. But if, contrary to the definition of wisdom, 
you call any one whatever who dogmatizes with sophistical 
opinions wise, we answer that in conformity with what you 
call wisdom, such an one rejects the words of God, being 
misled and ensnared by plausible sophisms. And since, 
according to our doctrine, wisdom is not the knowledge of 
evil, but the knowledge of evil, so to speak, is in those 
who hold false opinions and who are deceived by them, I 
would therefore in such persons term it ignorance rather than 

Chapter lxxiii. 

|b After this he again slanders the ambassador of Christianity, 
and gives out regarding him that he relates " ridiculous things," 
although he does not show or clearly point out what are the 
things which he calls ^'ridiculous." And in his slanders he 
says that " no wise man believes the gospel, being driven away 
by the multitudes who adhere to it." And in this he acts 
like one who should say that owing to the multitude of those 
ignorant persons who are brought into subjection to the laws, 
no wise man would yield obedience to Solon, for example, or 
to Lycurgus, or Zaleucus, or any other legislator, and espe- 
cially if by wise man he means one who is wise [by living] in 

i conformity with virtue., For, as with regard to these ignorant 
persons, the legislators, according to their ideas of utility, 
caused them to be surrounded with appropriate guidance and 
laws, so God, legislating through Jesus Christ for men in all 
parts of the world, brings to Himself even those who are not 
wise in the way in which it is possible for such persons to be 
brought to a better life. And God, well knowing this, as we 
Lave already shown in the preceding pages, says in the books 
of Moses : " They have moved me to jealousy with that which 
is not God ; they have provoked me to anger with their idols : 
and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a 
people ; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation." ^ 
And Paul also, knowing this, said, " But God hath chosen the 
foohsh things of the world to confound the wise," ^ calling, in 
1 Cf. Deut. xxxii. 21. 2 Qi 1 Cor. 1. 27. 

152 OniGEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book hi. 

a general way, wise all who appear to have made advances in 
knowledge, but have fallen into an atheistic polytheism, since 
" professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and 
changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image 
made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed 
beasts, and creeping things." ^ 

Chapter lxxiv. 

He accuses the Christian teacher, moreover, of "seeking 
after the unintelligent." In answer, we ask, Whom do you 
mean by the " unintelligent ? " For, to speak accurately, every 
wicked man is "unintelligent." If then by "unintelligent" 
you mean the wicked, do you, in drawing men to philosophy, 
seek to gain the wicked or the virtuous ? ^ But it is impossible 
to gain the virtuous, because they have already given them- 
selves to philosophy. The wicked, then, [you try to gain;] but 
if they are wicked, are they " unintelligent ? " And many such 
you seek to win over to philosophy, and you therefore seek 
the " unintelligent." But if I seek after those who are thus 
termed " unintelligent," I act like a benevolent physician, who 
should seek after the sick in order to help and cure them. If, 
however, by "unintelligent" you mean persons who are not 
clever,^ but the inferior class of men intellectually,^ I shall 
answer that I endeavour to improve such also to the best 
of my ability, although I would not desire to build up the 
Christian community out of such materials. For I seek in 
preference those who are more clever and acute, because they 
are able to comprehend the meaning of the hard sayings, and 
of those passages in the law, and prophecies, and Gospels, which 
are expressed with obscurity, and which you have despised as 
not containing anything worthy of notice, because you have 
not ascertained the meaning which they contain, nor tried to 
enter into the aim of the writers. 

^ Rom. i. 22, 23. ^ daretovg. ^ lovg ^oj ivTpi')(,ug. 

■* The reading in the text is npccrcShiaTipovg, of which Ruseus remarks, 
" Hie nullum habet locum." KxTa^narkpovg has been conjectured instead, 
and has been adopted in the translation. 


Chapter lxxv. 

But as he afterwards says that " the teacher of Christianity 
acts like a person who promises to restore patients to bodily 
health, but who prevents them from consulting skilled phy- 
sicians, by whom his ignorance would be exposed," we shall 
inquire in reply, " What are the physicians to whom you refer, 
from whom we turn away ignorant individuals ? For you do 
not suppose that we exhort those to embrace the gospel who are 
devoted to philosophy, so that you would regard the latter as 
the physicians from whom we keep away such as we invite to 
come to the word of God." He indeed will make no answer, 
because he cannot name the physicians; or else he will be 
obliged to betake himself to those of them who are ignorant, 
and who of their own accord servilely yield themselves to 
the worship of many gods, and to whatever other opinions 
are entertained by ignorant individuals. In either case, then, 
he will be shown to have employed to no purpose in his 
argument the illustration of "one who keeps others away 
from skilled physicians." But if, in order to preserve from 
the philosophy of Epicurus, and from such as are considered 
physicians after his system, those who are deceived by them, 
why should we not be acting most reasonably in keeping 
such away from a dangerous disease caused by the physi- 
cians of Celsus, — that, viz., w^hich leads to the annihilation 
of providence, and the introduction of pleasure as a good? 
But let it be conceded that we do keep away those whom 
we encourage to become our disciples from other philo- 
sopher-physicians, — from the Peripatetics, for example, who 
deny the existence of providence and the relation of Deity to 
man, — why shall we not piously train and heal those who have 
been thus encouraged, persuading them to devote themselves 
to the God of all things, and free those who yield obedience to 
us from the great wounds inflicted by the words of such as are 
deemed to be philosophers? Nay, let it also be admitted that 
we turn away from physicians of the sect of the Stoics, who 
introduce a corruptible god, and assert that his essence consists 
^ For ivoiiSil; in the text, Boherellus conjectures ivai^ag. 


of a body, whicli is capable of being changed and altered in 
all its parts/ and who also maintain that all things will one 
day perish, and that God alone will be left ; why shall we not 
even thus emancipate our subjects from evils, and bring them 
by pious arguments to devote themselves to the Creator, and 
to admire the Father of the Christian system, who has so 
arranged that instruction of the most benevolent kind, and 
fitted for the conversion of souls,^ should be distributed 
throughout the whole human race ? Nay, if we should cure 
those who have fallen into the folly of believing in the trans- 
migration of souls through the teaching of physicians, who will 
have it that the rational nature descends sometimes into all 
kinds of irrational animals, and sometimes into that state 
of being which is incapable of using the imagination,^ why 
should we not improve the souls of our subjects by means of a 
doctrine which does not teach that a state of insensibility or 
irrationalism is produced in the wicked instead of punishment, 
but which shows that the labours and chastisements inflicted 
upon the wicked by God are a kind of medicines leading to 
conversion ? For those who are intelligent Christians,* keeping 
this in view, deal with the simple-minded, as parents do with 
very young ^ children. We do not betake ourselves then to 
young persons and silly rustics, saying to them, " Flee from 
physicians." Nor do we say, " See that none of you lay hold 
of knowledge ; " nor do we assert that ^' knowledge is an evil ;" 
nor are we mad enough to say that " knowledge causes men 
to lose their soundness of mind." We would not even say that 
any one ever perished through wisdom ; and although we give 

-^ 6iou (pdoiprov slffxyoyrcou, kxI rriv ovatoiv oivrov "kzyourav caf/.cc rps'Trrov 

^ The words in the text are, (pi'Kuv&paTrorxrcc sTriarps'Trrix.oi', kxI \pv}cZ'j 
fcoc&Tj/xxroc oiKouopi'/iacivrci, for "which we have adopted in the translation 
the emendation of Boherellus, (piT^ocudpaTroTarix. x,oci -i^/v^otv iTrtarpi'Trruoi 

^ «AAct x,oiv rovg 'TrsTrovdorizg t/iv 'npl rvjg f^STSvcroif/^oiraaeag oivoixu cc-tto 
iccrpcJv, rcjv 'yCCiroifiilSci^ourau rijv 7\.oyix,7iu (pvaiv 6~e yAu stI t'/JV ccT^oyoy rruaxvy 
oVs Bs x.a,\ iTTi rvju d^PayTO-arov, 

* Instead of o/- (ppoui\cico; 'Xpiariayol ^oyjrsg, as in the text, Ruseiis and 
Boherellus conjecture 0/ (ppouiyas Xpianccui'^ours;, etc. 


instruction, we never say, " Give heed to me," but " Give heed 
to the God of all things, and to Jesus, the giver of instruction 
concerning Him." And none of us is so great a braggart^ as 
to say -what Celsus put in the mouth of one of our teachers to 
his acquaintances, " I alone will save you." Observe here the 
lies which he utters against us ! Moreover, we do not assert that 
" true physicians destroy those whom they promise to cure." 

Chapter lxxvi. 

And he produces a second illustration to our disadvantage, 
saying that "our teacher acts like a drunken man, who, 
entering a company of drunkards, should accuse those who are 
sober of being drunk." But let him show, say from the writ- 
ings of Paul, that the apostle of Jesus gave way to drunken- 
ness, and that his words were not those of soberness ; or from 
the writings of John, that his thoughts do not breathe a spirit 
of temperance and of freedom from the intoxication of evil. 
No one, then, who is of sound mind, and teaches the doctrines 
of Christianity, gets drunk with wine ; but Celsus utters these 
calumnies against us in a spirit very unlike that of a philo- 
sopher. Moreover, let Celsus say who those " sober" persons 
are whom the ambassadors of Christianity accuse. For in 
our judgment all are intoxicated who address themselves to in- 
animate objects as to God. And why do I say " intoxicated?" 
" Insane " would be the more appropriate word for those who 
hasten to temples and worship images or animals as divinities. 
And they too are not less insane who think that images, 
fashioned by men of worthless and sometimes most wicked 
character, confer any honour upon genuine divinities. 

Chapter lxxvii. 

He next likens our teacher to one suffering from ophthalmia, 
and his disciples to those suffering from the same disease, and 
says that " such an one amongst a company of those who are 
afflicted with ophthalmia, accuses those who are sharp-sighted 
of being blind." Who, then, would we ask, O Greeks, are 
they who in our judgment do not see, save those who are un- 
able to look up from the exceeding greatness of the world and 


its contents, and from the beauty of created things, and to see 
that they ought to worship, and admire, and reverence Him 
alone who made these things, and that it is not befitting to 
treat with reverence anything contrived by man, and appHed 
to the honour of God, whether it be without a reference to the 
Creator, or with one ? ^ For, to compare with that illimitable 
excellence, which surpasses all created being, things which ought 
not to be brought into comparison with it, is the act of those 
whose understanding is darkened. We do not then say that 
those who are sharp-sighted are suffering from ophthalmia or 
blindness ; but we assert that those who, in ignorance of God, 
give themselves to temples and images, and so-called sacred 
seasons,^ are blinded in their minds, and especially when, in 
addition to their impiety, they live also in licentiousness, not 
even inquiring after any honourable work whatever, but doing 
everything that is of a disgraceful character. 

Chapter lxxviii. 

After having brought against us charges of so serious a kind, 
he wishes to make it appear that, although he has others to 
adduce, he passes them by in silence. His words are as follow : 
" These charges I have to bring against them, and others of a 
similar nature, not to enumerate them one by one, and I affirm 
that they are in error, and that they act insolently towards God, 
in order to lead on wicked men by empty hopes, and to persuade 
them to despise better things, saying that if they refrain from 
them it will be better for them." In answer to which, it might 
be said that from the power which shows itself in those who 
are converted to Christianity, it is not at all the " wicked " who 
are won over to the gospel, as the more simple class of persons, 
and, as many would term them, the " unpolished." ^ For such 
individuals, through fear of the punishments that are threat- 
ened, which arouses and exhorts them to refrain from those 
actions which are followed by punishments, strive to yield them- 
selves up to the Christian religion, being influenced by the 

^ iin x^plg rov ^yif^tovpyov hov sirs kuI ^£r' tKiivov. ^ hpof^nviui. 

^ The reading in the text is Ko/^\po{, which is so opposed to the sense of 
the passage, that the conjecture of Guietus, uKOfc\po{^ has been adopted in 
the translation. 


power of the word to such a degree, that through fear of what 
are called in the w^ord " everlasting punishments," they despise 
all the tortures which are devised against them among men, — 
even death itself, with countless other evils, — which no wise 
man would say is the act of persons of wicked mind. How can 
temperance and sober-mindedness, or benevolence and liberality, 
be practised by a man of wicked mind ? Nay, even the fear 
of God cannot be felt by such an one, with respect to which, 
because it is useful to the many, the gospel encourages those 
who are not yet able to choose that which ought to be chosen 
for its own sake, to select it as the greatest blessing, and one 
above all promise; for this principle cannot be implanted in 
him who prefers to live in wickedness. 

Chapter lxxix. 

But if in these matters any one were to imagine that it is 
superstition rather than wickedness which appears in the mul- 
titude of those who believe the word, and should charge our 
doctrine with making men superstitious, we shall answer him 
by saying that, as a certain legislator replied to the question of 
one who asked him whether he had enacted for his citizens the 
best laws, that he had not given them absolutely the best, but 
the best which they were capable of receiving ; so it might be 
said by the Father of the Christian doctrine, I have given the 
best laws and instruction for the improvement of morals of 
which the many were capable, not threatening sinners with 
imaginary labours and chastisements, but with such as are real, 
and necessary to be applied for the correction of those who 
offer resistance, although they do not at all understand the 
object of him who inflicts the punishment, nor the effect of the 
labours. For the doctrine of punishment is both attended with 
utility, and is agreeable to truth, and is stated in obscure terms 
with advantage. Moreover, as for the most part it is not the 
wicked whom the ambassadors of Christianity gain over, neither 
do we insult God. For we speak regarding Him both what is 
true, and what appears to be clear to the multitude, but not so 
clear to them as it is to those few who investigate the truths of 
the gospel in a philosophical manner. 


Chapter lxxx. 

Seeing, however, that Celsus alleges that " Christians are 
won over by us through vain hopes," we thus reply to him 
when he finds fault with our doctrine of the blessed life, and 
of communion with God : " As for you, good sir, they also are 
won over by vain hopes who have accepted the doctrine of 
Pythagoras and Plato regarding the soul, that it is its nature 
to ascend to the vault -^ of heaven, and in the super-celestial 
space to behold the sights which are seen by the blessed spec- 
tators above. According to you, O Celsus, they also who have 
accepted the doctrine of the duration of the soul [after death], 
and who lead a life through which they become heroes, and 
make their abodes with the gods, are won over by vain hopes. 
Probably also they who are persuaded that the soul comes 
[into the body] from without, and that it will be withdrawn 
from the power of death,^ would be said by Celsus to be won 
over by empty hopes. Let him then ^ome forth to the con- 
test, no longer concealing the sect to which he belongs, but 
confessing himself to be an Epicurean, and let him meet the 
arguments, which are not lightly advanced among Greeks and 
barbarians, regarding the immortality of the soul, or its dura- 
tion [after death], or the immortality of the thinking principle ;^ 
and let him prove that these are words which deceive with 
empty hopes those who give their assent to them ; but that the 
adherents of his philosophical system are pure from empty 
hopes, and that they indeed lead to hopes of good, or — what is 
more in keeping with his opinions — give birth to no hope at 
all, on account of the immediate and complete destruction of 
the soul [after death]. Unless, perhaps, Celsus and the Epi- 
cureans will deny that it is a vain hope which they entertain 
regarding their end, — pleasure, — which, according to them, is 

^ Tux,cc "hi Kdl 01 'XsiaQivng "Tnpl rov dvpocdsu vov^ ag &cc'Jxrov kuivov S;if- 
uyayviv 'i^ovrog^ etc. Locus certe obscurus, cui lucem afferre conatur Bohe- 
rellus, legendo divisim ug 6uva,rov kuI vov ^a^ctycoy^u i^ourog, ut sensus sit 
"morti etiam mentem subductum iri." Nam si Gvpahv '/jKit uovg, consequens 
est ut Guvoirov Kxl vovg ^n^ocyuy/iu s)c^. Cf. Aristot. lib. ii. c. 3, de genera- 
tione animalium. — Spencer. 

^ 5j TVig rov vov eiduuuaiecg. 


the supreme good, and which consists in the permanent health 
of the body, and the hope regarding it which is entertained by 

Chapter lxxxi. 

And do not suppose that it is not in keeping with the 
Christian religion for me to have accepted, against Celsus, the 
opinions of those philosophers who have treated of the immor- 
tality or after-duration of the soul ; for, holding certain views 
in common with them, we shall more conveniently establish 
our position, that the future life of blessedness shall be for 
those only who have accepted the religion which is according 
to Jesus, and that devotion towards the Creator of all things 
which is pure and sincere, and unmingled with any created 
thing whatever. And let him who likes show what " better 
things" we persuade men to despise, and let him compare the 
blessed end with God in Christ, — that is, the word, and the 
wisdom, and all virtue, — which, according to our view, shall be 
bestowed, by the gift of God, on those who have lived a pure 
and blameless life, and who have felt a single and undivided 
love for the God of all things, with that end which is to 
follow according to the teaching of each philosophic sect, 
whether it be Greek or barbarian, or according to the pro- 
fessions of religious mysteries;^ and let him prove that the 
end which is predicted by any of the others is superior to that 
which we promise, and consequently that that is true, and ours 
not befitting the gift of God, nor those who have lived a good 
life ; or let him prove that these words were not spoken by the 
divine Spirit, who filled the souls of the holy prophets. And 
let him who likes show that those words which are acknow- 
ledged among all men to be human, are superior to those which 
are proved to be divine, and uttered by inspiration. And what 
are the " better" things from which we teach those who receive 
them that it would be better to abstain? For if it be not 

E/ y.'^ oipa, KsT^ao; xotl oi ^'RTTtKOvpsioi ov (p^aovai KOv(pYiy sTi/eci iT^Trf^oc TJjy 
'TTSpl rov TiT^ovg ccvtZu Tvjg Tilovvi;, vjrig Kxr uvrovg iari ro dyxdov, ro rvis aupKog 
sviTToidig KotrxaTYiyx, kuI to Tinpl ruvrng -Triarov 'ETmcovptf) 'iXxiaf^cc. 

^ TO) Ku&^ SKuaTinu Cpi'Koa6(puu a'ipiatu su "ET^T^natu ^ (3upfixpois, ^ fivcmnptahn 
i'Trocyys'hiuu, rsTiSi. 


arrogant so to speak, it is self-evident that nothing can be 
denied which is better than to entrust oneself to the God of all, 
and yield oneself up to the doctrine which raises us above all 
created things, and brings us, through the animate and living 
word — which is also living w^isdom and the Son of God — to 
God who is over all. However, as the third book of our 
answers to the treatise of Celsus has extended to a sufficient 
length, we shall here bring our present remarks to a close, and 
in what is to follow shall meet what Celsus has subsequently 



Chapter i. 

jlAVING, in the three preceding books, fully stated 
what occurred to us by way of answer to the 
treatise of Celsus, we now, reverend Ambrosius, 
with prayer to God through Christ, offer this 
fourth book as a reply to what follows. And we pray that 
words may be given us, as it is written in the book of Jeremiah 
that the Lord said to the prophet : " Behold, I have put my 
words in thy mouth as fire. See, I have set thee this day over 
the nations, and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull 
down, and to destroy, and to throw down, and to build and 
to plant." ^ For we need words now which will root out of 
every wounded soul the reproaches uttered against the truth by 
this treatise of Celsus, or which proceed from opinions like his. 
And we need also thoughts which will pull down all edifices 
based on false opinions, and especially the edifice raised by 
Celsus in his work, which resembles the building of those who 
said, " Come, let us build us a city, and a tower whose top shall 
reach to heaven." ^ Yea, we even require a wisdom which 
will throw down all high things that rise against the knowledge 
of God,^ and especially that height of arrogance which Celsus 
displays against us. And in the next place, as we must not stop 
with rooting out and pulling down the hindrances which have 
just been mentioned, but must, in room of what has been rooted 
out, plant the plants of " God's husbandry ;" * and in place of 
what has been pulled down, rear up the building of God, and the 
temple of His glory, — we must for that reason pray also to the 
Lord, who bestowed the gifts named in the book of Jeremiah, 
|j that He may grant even to us words adapted both for building 
up the [temple] of Christ, and for planting the spiritual law, 

1 Cf. Jer. i. 9, 10. a Cf. Gen. xi. 4. 

3 Cf. 2 Cor. X. 5. * Cf. 1 Cor. iii. 9. 

L, ORIG. — VOL. II. L 


and the prophetic words referring to the same.^ And above 
all is it necessary to show, as against the assertions of Celsus 
which follow those he has already made, that the prophecies 
regarding Christ are true predictions. For, arraying himself 
at the same time against both parties — against the Jews on the 
one hand, who deny that the advent of Christ has taken place, 
but who expect it as future, and against Christians on the 
other, who acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ spoken of in 
prophecy — he makes the following statement : — 

Chapter ii. 

"But that certain Christians and [all] Jews should main- 
tain, the former that there has already descended, the latter 
that there will descend, upon the earth a certain God, or 
Son of a God, who will make the inhabitants of the earth 
righteous,^ is a most shameless assertion, and one the refuta- 
tion of which does not need many words." Now here he 
appears to pronounce correctly regarding not *^ certain" of the 
Jews, but all of them, that they imagine that there is a certain 
[God] who will descend upon the earth ; and with regard to 
Christians, that certain of them say that he has already come 
down. For he means those who prove from the Jewish Scrip- 
tures that the advent of Christ has already taken place, and 
he seems to know that there are certain heretical sects which 
deny that Christ Jesus was predicted by the prophets. In the 
preceding pages, however, we have already discussed, to the 
best of our ability, the question of Christ having been the sub- 
ject of prophecy, and therefore, to avoid tautology, we do not 
repeat much that might be advanced upon this head. Observe, 
now, that if he had wished with a kind of apparent force ^ to 
subvert faith in the prophetic writings, either with regard to 
the future or past advent of Christ, he ought to have set forth 
the prophecies themselves which we Christians and Jews quote 
in our discussions with each other. For in this way he would 
have appeared to turn aside those who are carried away by the 
plausible character * of the prophetic statements, as he regards 
it, from assenting to their truth, and from believing, on account 

^ ravg dvahoyav ocvT^ 'TrpoCpYiTtKOvg T^oyovg. ^ ZiKXiarvig. 


of these prophecies, that Jesus is the Christ; whereas now, 
being unable to answer the prophecies relating to Christ, or else 
not knowing at all what are the prophecies relating to Him, 
he brings forward no prophetic declaration, although there ar.e 
countless numbers which refer to Christ; but he thinks that he 
prefers an accusation against the prophetic Scriptures, while he 
does not even state what he himself would call their "plausible 
character !" He is not, however, aware that it is not at all the 
Jews who say that Christ will descend as a God, or the Son of 
a God, as we have shown in the foregoing pages. And when 
he asserts that " he is said by us to have already come, but by 
the Jews that his advent as Messiah -^ is still future," he appears 
by the very charge to censure our statement as one that is most 
shameless, and which needs no lengthened refutation. 

Chapter hi. 

And he continues : ^^ What is the meaning of such a descent 
upon the part of God ? " not observing that, according to our 
teaching, the meaning of the descent is pre-eminently to con- 
vert what are called in the Gospel the lost " sheep of the house 
of Israel;" and secondly, to take away from them, on account 
of their disobedience, what is called the ^^ kingdom of God," 
and to give to other husbandmen than the ancient Jews, viz. 
to the Christians, who will render to God the fruits of His 
kingdom in due season (each action being a "fruit of the 
kingdom").^ We shall therefore, out of a greater number, 
select a few remarks by way of answer to the question of 
Celsus, when he says, " What is the meaning of such a descent 
upon the part of God ? " And Celsus here returns to himself 
an answer which would have been given neither by Jews nor 
by us, when he asks, " Was it in order to learn what goes on 
amongst men ? " For not one of us asserts that it was in order 
to learn what goes on amongst men that Christ entered into 
this life. Immediately after, however, as if some would reply 
that it luas " in order to learn what goes on among men," he 
makes this objection to his own statement : " Does he not know 

^ AtKcctax'^;, not AtKocariis. 

^ rovg KccpTTovg r^g rov ©toy (ici(xt7\.s!oig d'Tohaaovai r^ 0£w, sy roig iKUSTVt; 

irpx^iu; ovans KocpT^ov rjjf (SuaiTaiocg Koctpolg. 


all things?" Then, as if we were to answer that He does 
know all things, he raises a new question, saying, " Then he 
does know, but does not make [men] better, nor is it possible 
for him by means of his divine power to make [men] better." 
Now all this on his part is silly talk;^ for God, by means 
of His word, which is continually passing from generation to 
generation into holy souls, and constituting them friends of 
God and prophets, does improve those who listen to His words ; 
and by the coming of Christ He improves, through the doctrine 
of Christianity, not those who are unwilling, but those who 
have chosen the better life, and that which is pleasing to God. 
I do not know, moreover, what kind of improvement Celsus 
wished to take place when he raised the objection, asking, " Is 
it then not possible for him, by means of his divine power, 
to make [men] better, unless he send some one for that special 
purpose?"' Would he then have the improvement to take 
place by God's filling the minds of men with new ideas, 
removing at once the [inherent] wickedness, and implanting 
virtue [in its stead] ? ^ Another person now would inquire 
whether this was not inconsistent or impossible in the very 
nature of things ; we, however, would say, " Grant it to be so, 
and let it be possible." Where, then, is our free will?* and 
what credit is there in assenting to the truth ? or how is the 
rejection of what is false praiseworthy ? But even if it were 
-once granted that such a course was not only possible, but 
could be accomplished with propriety [by God], why would not 
one rather inquire (asking a question like that of Celsus) why 
it was not possible for God, by means of His divine power, to 
create men who needed no improvement, but who were of 
themselves virtuous and perfect, evil being altogether non- 
existent? These questions may perplex ignorant and foolish 
individuals, but not him who sees into the nature of things ; 

2 The word (pvasi -vrhich is found in the text seems out of place, and 
has been omitted in the translation, agreeably to the emendation of 

^ ^Apoc yccp v^^iKi (pu,yra.(jiovff,iyotg nrolg dv^puTroig 117:0 0£oi/, uTii'AYi(pc>Tog fnv 

■* TCOV OUU TO £<p' vjfclt^ ; 


for if you take away the spontaneity of virtue, you destroy its 
essence. But it would need an entire treatise to discuss these 
matters ; and on this subject the Greeks have expressed them- 
selves at great length in their works on providence. They 
truly would not say what Celsus has expressed in words, that 
" God knows [all things] indeed, but does not make [men] 
better, nor is able to do so by His divine power." We our- 
selves have spoken in many parts of our writings on these 
points to the best of our ability, and the Holy Scriptures have 
established the same to those who are able to understand them. 

Chapter iv. 

The argument which Celsus employs against us and the 
Jews will be turned against himself thus : My good sir, does 
the God who is over all things know what takes place among 
men, or does He not know? Now if you admit the existence 
of a God and of providence, as your treatise indicates. He must 
of necessity know. And if He does know, why does He not 
make [men] better ? Is it obligatory, then, on us to defend 
God's procedure in not making men better, although He knows 
their state, but not equally binding on you^ who do not dis- 
tinctly show by your treatise that you are an Epicurean, but 
pretend to recognise a providence, to explain why God, 
although knowing all that takes place among men, does not 
make them better, nor by divine power liberate all men from 
evil ? We are not ashamed, however, to say that God is con- 
stantly sending [instructors] in order to make men better ; for 
there are to be found amongst men reasons^ given by God 
which exhort them to enter on a better life. But there are 
many diversities amongst those who serve God, and they are 
few in number who are perfect and pure ambassadors of the 
truth, and who produce a complete reformation, as did Moses 
and the prophets. But above all these, great was the reforma- 
tion effected by Jesus, who desired to heal not only those who 
lived in one corner of the world, but as far as in Him lay, men 
in every country, for He came as the Saviour of all men. 

^ 0/ yxp iTrl T<56 fii'hriaroc 'TrpoKochQVfA.ivot T^iyat.^ 0£oy ccvrovg "^ihoyKOTo;^ tialit 
iv dudpcoTrots, 


Chapter v. 

The illustrious-^ Celsus, taking occasion I know not from 
what, next raises an additional objection against us, as if we 
asserted that " God Himself will come down to men." He 
imagines also that it follows from this, that " He has left His 
own abode ;" for he does not know the power of God, and that 
"the Spirit of the Lord filleth the world, and that which 
upholdeth all things hath knowledge of the voice." ^ Nor is 
he able to understand the words, "Do I not fill heaven and 
earth ? saith the Lord." ^ Nor does he see that, according to 
the doctrine of Christianity, we all " in Him live, and move, 
and have our being,"* as Paul also taught in his address to the 
Athenians ; and therefore, although the God of the universe 
should through His own power descend with Jesus into the life 
of men, and although the Word which was in the beginning 
with God, which is also God Himself, should come to us, He 
does not give His place or vacate His own seat, so that one 
place should be empty of Him, and another which did not 
formerly contain Him be filled. But the power and divinity 
of God comes through him whom God chooses, and resides 
in him in whom it finds a place, not changing its situation, nor 
leaving its own place empty and filling another : for, in speak- 
ing of His quitting one place and occupying another, we do 
not mean such expressions to be taken topically ; but we say 
that the soul of the bad man, and of him who is over- 
whelmed in wickedness, is abandoned by God, while we mean 
that the soul of him who wishes to live virtuously, or of him 
who is making progress [in a virtuous life], or who is already 
living conformably thereto, is filled with or becomes a partaker 
of the Divine Spirit. It is not necessary, then, for the descent 
of Christ, or for the coming of God to men, that He should 
abandon a greater seat, and that things on earth should be 
changed, as Celsus imagines when he says, " If you were to 
change a single one, even the least, of things on earth, all 
things would be overturned and disappear." And if we must 

^ yiuuouQTurog. 

^ Wisd. Solom. i. 7, Kotl to avviy^nv ra. Truura yvuaiv £%£/ (pavvjg. 

3 Cf. Jer. xxiii.. 24. ^ Cf. Acts xvii. 28. 


speak of a change in any one by the appearing of the power of 
God, and by the entrance of the word among men, we shall 
not be reluctant to speak of changing from a wicked to a 
virtuous, from a dissolute to a temperate, and from a super- 
stitious to a religious life, the person who has allowed the word 
of God to find entrance into his soul. 

Chapter vi. 

But if you will have us to meet the most ridiculous among 
the charges of Celsus, listen to him when he says : *^'Now God, 
being unknown amongst men, and deeming himself on that 
account to have less" than his due,-"^ would desire to make him- 
self known, and to make trial both of those who believe upon 
him and of those who do not, like those of mankind who have 
recently come into the possession of riches, and who make a 
display of their wealth ; and thus they testify to an excessive 
but very mortal ambition on the part of God." ^ We answer, 
then, that God, not being known by wicked men, would desire 
to make Himself known, not because He thinks that He meets 
with less than His due, but because the knowledge of Him 
will free the possessor from unhappiness. Nay, not even with 
the desire to try those who do or who do not believe upon Him, 
does He, by His imspeakable and divine power. Himself take 
up His abode in certain individuals, or send His Christ ; but He 
does this in order to liberate from all their wretchedness those 
who do believe upon Him, and who accept His divinity, and 
that those who do not believe may no longer have this as a 
ground of excuse, viz. that their unbelief is the consequence 
of their not having heard the word of instruction. What argu- 
ment, then, proves that it follows from our views that God, 
according to our representations, is " like those of mankind who 
have recently come into the possession of riches, and who make 
a display of their wealth ? " For God makes no display towards 
us^ from a desire that we should understand and consider His 
pre-eminence ; but desiring that the blessedness w^liich results 
fr6m His being known by us should be implanted in our souls, 



He brings it to pass through Christ, and His ever-indwelling 
word, that we come to an intimate fellowship ^ with Him. No 
mortal ambition, then, does the Christian doctrine testify as 
existing on the part of God. 

Chapter vii. 

I do not know how it is, that after the foolish remarks which 
he has made upon the subject which we have just been discuss- 
ing, he should add the following, that " God does not desire to 
make himself known for his own sake, but because he wishes 
to bestow upon us the knowledge of himself for the sake of 
our salvation, in order that those who accept it may become 
virtuous and be saved, while those who do not accept may be 
shown to be wicked and be punished." And yet, after making 
such a statement, he raises a new objection, saying : " After so 
long a period of time,^ then, did God now bethink himself 
of making men live righteous lives,^ but neglect to do so be- 
fore ?" To which w^e answer, that there never was a time when 
God did not wish to make men live righteous lives ; but He 
continually evinced His care for the improvement of the rational 
animal,* by affording him occasions for the exercise of virtue. 
For in every generation the wisdom of God, passing into those 
souls which it ascertains to be holy, converts them into friends 
and prophets of God. And there may be found in the sacred 
books [the names of] those who in each generation were holy, 
and were recipients of the Divine Spirit, and who strove to 
convert their contemporaries so far as in their power. 

Chapter viii. 

And it is not matter of surprise that in certain generations 
there have existed prophets who, in the reception of divine 
influence,^ surpassed, by means of their stronger and more 
powerful [religious] life, other prophets who were their contem- 
poraries, and others also who lived before and after them. 
And so it is not at all wonderful that there should also have 
been a time when something of surpassing excellence^ took up 

^ oiKeicoaiv. ^ f/.sroi togovto'j aiZux. 

^ ZiKXicJacci. * TO 7\.0'/lX,6v ^cjou. 

^ Iv rfi 7roipoe.lo-)C'^ rvjg Qsiornrog. ^ s^ctipirov ri,. 


its abode among the human race, and which was distinguished 
above all that preceded or even that followed it. Biit there is 
an element of profound mystery in the account of these things, 
and one which is incapable of being received by the popular 
understandintT. And in order that these difficulties should be 
made to disappear, and that the objections raised against the 
advent of Christ should be answered — viz. that, " after so long 
a period of time, then, did God now bethink himself of making 
men live righteous lives, but neglect to do so before ? " — it is 
necessary to touch upon the narrative of the divisions [of the 
nations], and to make it evident why it was, that *^ when the 
Most High divided the nations, when He separated the sons 
of Adam, He set the bounds of the nations according to the 
number of the angels of God, and the portion of the Lord was 
His people Jacob, Israel the cord of His inheritance ; " ^ and it 
will be necessary to state the reason why the birth of each man 
took place within each particular boundary, under him who 
obtained the boundary by lot, and how it rightly happened that 
" the portion of the Lord was His people Jacob, and Israel 
the cord of His inheritance," and why formerly the portion of 
the Lord was His people Jacob, and Israel the cord of His 
inheritance. But with respect to those who come after, it is 
said to the Saviour by the Father, " Ask of me, and I will give 
Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost 
parts of the earth for Thy possession." ^ For there are certain 
connected and related reasons, bearing upon the different 
treatment of human souls, which are difficult to state and to 

Chapter ix. 

There came, then, although Celsus may not wish to admit 
it, after the numerous prophets who were the reformers of that 
well-known Israel, the Christ, the Reformer of the whole world, 
who did not need to employ against men whips, and chains, 
and tortures, as was the case under the former economy. For 
when the sower went forth to sow, the doctrine sufficed to sow 

• 1 Deut. xxxii. 8, 9 (according to the LXX.). ^ Cf. Ps. ii. 8. 

^ 'Rial yxp Tiuig elpfzoi kxI <x,kq7^ov61oci oiCPocrot kxI oLuiKHivtynrot Trspi rijs 


the word everywhere. But if there is a time coming which 
will necessarily circumscribe the duration of the world, by 
reason of .its having had a beginning, and if there is to be an 
end to the world, and after the end a just judgment of all 
things, it will be incumbent on him who treats the declarations 
of the Gospels philosophically, to establish these doctrines by 
arguments of all kinds, not only dei;ived directly from the 
sacred Scriptures, but also by inferences deducible from them ; 
while the more numerous and simpler class of believers, and 
those who are unable to comprehend the many varied aspects 
of the divine wisdom, must entrust themselves to God, and 
to the Saviour of our race, and be contented with His " ipse 
dixit," ^ instead of this or any other demonstration whatever. 

Chapter x. 

In the next place, Celsus, as is his custom, having neither 
proved nor established anything, proceeds to say, as if we talked 
of God in a manner that was neither holy nor pious, that ^' it 
is perfectly manifest that they babble about God in a way that 
is neither holy nor reverential;" and he imagines that we do 
these things to excite the astonishment of the ignorant, and 
that we do not speak the truth regarding the necessity of 
punishments for those who have sinned. And accordingly he 
likens us to those who "in the Bacchic mysteries introduce 
phantoms and objects of terror." With respect to the mys- 
teries of Bacchus, whether there is any reliable account of 
them, or none that is such, let the Greeks tell, and let Celsus 
and his boon-companions ^ listen. But we defend our own pro- 
cedure, when we say that our object is to reform the human 
race, either by the threats of punishments which we are per- 
suaded are necessary for the whole world,^ and which perhaps 
are not without use * to those who are to endure them ; or by 
the promises made to those who have lived virtuous lives, and 
in which are contained the statements regarding the blessed 
termination which is to be found in the kingdom of God, 
reserved for those who are worthy of becoming His subjects. 

••• oLvTog £(p». ^ avvdiccauriti. *tw txvti. 

* ovy. dxpy.t^rov;. On Origen's views respecting rewards and punishments, 
cf. Huet's Origeniana^ Book ii. question xi. 


Chapter xi. 

After this, being desirous to show that it is nothing either 
wonderful or new which we state regarding floods or conflagra- 
tions, but that, from misunderstanding the accounts of these 
thinirs which are current amon(]j Greeks or barbarous nations, 
we have accorded our belief to our own Scriptures when treat- 
ing of them, he writes as follows : ^' The belief has spread among 
them, from a misunderstanding of the accounts of these 
occurrences, that after lengthened cycles of time, and the 
returns and conjunctions of planets, conflagrations and floods 
are wont to happen, and because after the last flood, which 
took place in the time of Deucalion, the lapse of time, agree- 
ably to the vicissitude of all things, requires a conflagration ; 
and this made them give utterance to the erroneous opinion 
that God will descend, bringing fire like a torturer." Now 
in answer to this we say, that I do not understand how Celsus, 
who has read a great deal, and who shows that he has per- 
used many histories, had not his attention arrested"^ by the 
antiquity of Moses, who is related by certain Greek historians 
to have lived about the time of Inachus the son of Phoroneus, 
and is acknowledged by the Egyptians to be a man of great 
antiquity, as well as by those who have studied the history of 
the Phoenicians. And any one who likes may peruse the two 
books of Flavius Josephus on the antiquities of the Jews, in 
order that he may see in what way Moses was more ancient 
than those who asserted that floods and conflagrations take place 
in the world after long intervals of time; which statement 
Celsus alleges the Jews and Christians to have misunderstood, 
and, not comprehending what was said about a conflagration, 
to have declared that " God will descend, bringing fire like a 
torturer." ^ 

Chapter xii. 

Whether, then, there are cycles of time, and floods, or con- 
flagrations which occur periodically or not, and whether the 
Scripture is aware of this, not only in many passages, but 
especially where Solomon says, ^' What is the thing which 

^ ovK i-ziaTYi. 2 g/;ijjj; (iocacc'Jtarov Tvp (pipav. 


hath been ? Even that which shall be. And what is the thing 
which hath been done ? Even that which shall be done," ^ 
etc. etc., belongs not to the present occasion to discuss. For 
it is sufficient only to observe, that Moses and certain of the 
prophets, being men of very great antiquity, did not receive 
from others the statements relating to the [future] conflagra- 
tion of the world ; but, on the contrary (if we must attend to 
the matter of time^), others rather misunderstanding them, and 
not inquiring accurately into their statements, invented the 
fiction of the same events recurring at certain intervals, and 
differing neither in their essential nor accidental qualities.^ 
But we do not refer either the deluge or the conflagration to. 
cycles and planetary periods ; but the cause of them we declare 
to be the extensive prevalence of wickedness,* and its [consequent] 
removal by a deluge or a conflagration. And if the voices of the 
prophets say that God '^ comes down," who has said, '' Do I not 
fill heaven and earth ? saith the Lord," ^ the term is used in a 
figurative sense. For God " comes down" from His own height 
and greatness w^hen He arranges the affairs of men, and espe- 
cially those of the wicked. And as custom leads men to say 
that teachers " condescend " ^ to children, and wise men to those 
youths who have just betaken themselves to philosophy, not by 
" descending" in a hodify manner; so, if God is said anywhere 
in the Holy Scriptures to " come down," it is understood as 
spoken in conformity with the usage which so employs the 
word, and in like manner also with the expression " go up." 

Chapter xiii. 

But as it is in mockery that Celsus says we speak of " God 
coming down like a torturer bearing fire," and thus compels us 
unseasonably to investigate words of deeper meaning, w^e shall 
make a few remarks, sufficient to enable our hearers to form an 
idea^ of the defence which disposes of the ridicule of Celsus 
against us, and then we shall turn to what follows. The divine 

^ Cf. Eccles. i. 9. ^ si xP'h i'^narviauvroc rol; y^povoig uttuv. 

^ u,vi'7ir7\.U(ra,u kccto, 'Tnpiohovg rcivrorriTccg, x,ul ccTrxpay^'hoiKrovs ro7s I'^ioi; 
wo/o?? Kcci rols ovfcf^sfiriKcaiu uvrolg. 

* KOCKl'oCV iTTl TT'hUQV JC^SO^MfcJ'Jj;/, ^ Cf. JCY. xlu. 24. 





word says that our God is " a consuming fire," and that " He 
draws rivers of fire before Him ;" ^ nay, that He even entereth 
in as '^ a refiner's fire, and as a fuller's herb," ^ to purify His 
own people. But when He is said to be a " consuming fire," we 
inquire what are the things which are appropriate to be con- 
sumed by God. And we assert that they are wickedness, and 
the works which result from it, and which, being figuratively 
called " wood, hay, stubble," * God consumes as a fire. The 
wicked man, accordingly, is said to build up on the previously- 
laid foundation of reason, '^ wood, and hay, and stubble." If, 
then, any one can show that these words were differently under- 
stood by the writer, and can prove that the wicked man literally^' 
builds up " wood, or hay, or stubble," it is evident that the fire 
must be understood to be material, and an object of sense. But 
if, on the contrary, the works of the wicked man are spoken of 
figuratively under the names of " wood, or hay, or stubble," why 
does it not at once occur [to inquire] in what sense the word 
" fire" is to be taken, so that "wood" of such a kind should be 
consumed? for [the Scripture] says: "The fire will try each 
man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which 
he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any 
man's work be burned, he shall suffer loss." ^ But what work 
can be spoken of in these words as being " burned," save all 
that results from wickedness ? Therefore our God is a " con- 
suming fire " in the sense in which we have taken the word ; 
and thus He enters in as a "refiner's fire," to refine the 
rational nature, which has been filled with the lead of wicked- 
ness, and to free it from the other impure materials, which 
adulterate the natural gold or silver, so to speak, of the soul.^ 
And, in like manner, "rivers of fire" are said to be before 
God, who will thoroughly cleanse away the evil which is inter- 
mingled throughout the whole soul. But these remarks are 
sufficient in answer to the assertion, "that thus they were made 
to give expression to the erroneous opinion that God will come 
down bearing fire like a torturer." 

1 Cf. Deut. iv. 24, ix. 3. 2 cf. Dan..vii. 10. 3 cf. Mai. iii. 2. 

4 Cf. 1 Cor. iii. 12. « auf^urtx,ag. ^ Cf. 1 Cor. iii. 13-15. 

^ rviu roij yi^pvaov (iV ovrag 6'J0^a,<jcS)^ (pvaiu r^g "^^X^^t ^ '^^^ upyvpov^ 


Chapter xiv. 

But let us look at what Celsus next with great ostentation 
announces in the following fashion : ^^ And again," he says, 
"let us resume the subject from the beginning, with a larger 
array of proofs. And I make no new statement, but say what 
has been long settled. God is good, and beautiful, and blessed, 
and that in the best and most beautiful degree.-^ But if he 
come down among men, he must undergo a change, and a 
change from good to evil, from virtue to vice, from happiness 
to misery, and from best to worst. Who, then, w'ould make 
choice of such a change ? It is the nature of a mortal, indeed, 
to undergo change and remoulding, but of an immortal to re- 
main the same and unaltered. God, then, could not admit of 
such a change." Now it appears to me that the fitting answer 
has been returned to these objections, when I have related 
what is called in Scripture the " condescension " ^ of God to 
human affairs ; for which purpose He did not need to undergo a 
transformation, as Celsus thinks we assert, nor a change from 
good to evil, nor from virtue to vice, nor from happiness to 
misery, nor from best to worst. For, continuing unchangeable in 
His essence, He condescends to human affairs by the economy 
of His providence.^ We show, accordingly, that the Holy Scrip- 
tures represent God as unchangeable, botK by such words as 
"Thou art the same,"* and "I change not;"^ whereas the 
gods of Epicurus, being composed of atoms, and, so far as 
their structure is concerned, capable of dissolution, endeavour to 
throw off the atoms which contain the elements of destruction. 
Nay, even the god of the Stoics, as being corporeal, at one 
time has his whole essence composed of the guiding principle ^ 
when the conflagration [of the world] takes place ; and at 
another, when a rearrangement of things occurs, he again be- 
comes partly material.^ For even the Stoics were unable dis- 

^ 'O 0£oV dyudog san, k(X,i KaLhog^ kccI £v^ccif/.uu, x,ccl Iv ru KccXT^iaTu kou 

^ Kotru.^U(nv. ^ rri Trpovoia, kxI rj? oiKouofiie^. ■* Ps. cii. 27. 

^ Mai. iii. 6. ^ T^ys^uoviKov. 

^ The reading in the text is, Itt^ f^,ipovg ylusroci avrns, which is thus cor- 
rected by Guietus : iTri/nepTis yiusrut uvrog. 



tinctly to comprehend the natural idea of God, as of a being 
altogether incorruptible and simple, and uncompounded and 

Chapter xv. 

And with respect to His having descended among men, He 
was "• previously in the form of God ; " ^ and through bene- 
volence, divested Himself [of His glory], that He might be 
capable of being received by men. But He did not, I imagine, 
undergo any change from " good to evil," for " He did no 
sin ; " ^ nor from " virtue to vice," for " He knew no sin" ^ 
Nor did He pass from " happiness to misery," but He humbled 
Himself, and nevertheless was blessed, even when His humilia- 
tion was undergone in order to benefit our race. Nor was there 
any change in Him from " best to w^orst," for how can good- 
ness and benevolence be of " the worst ? " Is it befitting to 
say of the physician, who looks on dreadful sights and handles 
unsightly objects in order to cure the sufferers, that he passes 
from ^' good to evil," or from '' virtue to vice," or from *^ hap- 
piness to misery ? " And yet the physician, in looking on 
dreadful sights and handling unsightly objects, does not wholly 
escape the possibility of being involved in the same fate. But 
He who heals the wounds of our souls, through the word of 
God that is in Him, is Himself incapable of admitting any 
wickedness. But if the immortal God — the Word— by assuming 
a mortal body and a human soul, appears to Celsus to undergo 
a change and transformation, let him learn that the Word, still 
i:emaining essentially the Word, suffers none of those things 
which are suffered by the body or the soul ; but, condescending 
occasionally to [the weakness of] him who is unable to look 
upon the splendours and brilliancy of Deity, He becomes as 
it were flesh, speaking with a literal voice, until he who has 
received Him in such a form is able, through being elevated in 
some slight degree by the teaching of the Word, to gaze upon 
what is, so to speak, His real and pre-eminent appearance.^ 

1 Cf. Phil. ii. 6, 7. 2 cf. 1 Pet. ii. 22. 

^ Cf. 2 Cor. V. 21. * '^poYiyov/iCiuYiu, 


Chapter xvi. 

For there are different appearances, as it were, of the Word, 
according as He shows Himself to each one of those who come 
to His doctrine; and this in a manner corresponding to the 
condition of him who is just becoming a disciple, or of him 
who has made a little progress, or of him who has advanced 
further, or of him who has already nearly attained to virtue, or 
who has even already attained it. And hence it is not the 
case, as Celsus and those like him would have it, that our God 
was transformed, and ascending the lofty mountain, showed 
that His real appearance was something different, and far 
more excellent than what those who remained below, and were 
unable to follow Him on high, beheld. For those below did 
not possess eyes capable of seeing the transformation of the 
Word into His glorious and more divine condition. But with 
difficulty were they able to receive Him as He w^as ; so that it 
might be said of Him by those who were unable to behold His 
more excellent nature : " We saw Him, and He had no form 
nor comeliness ; but His form was mean/ and inferior to that 
of the sons of men." ^ And let these remarks be an answer 
to the suppositions of Celsus, who does not understand the 
changes or transformations of Jesus, as related in the histories, 
nor His mortal and immortal nature. 

Chapter xvii. 

But will not those narratives, especially when they are under- 
stood in their proper sense, appear far more worthy of respect 
than the story that Dionysus was deceived by the Titans, and 
expelled from the throne of Jupiter, and torn in pieces by them, 
and his remains being afterwards put together again, he re- 
turned as it were once more to life, and ascended to heaven ? 
Or are the Greeks at liberty to refer such stories to the doctrine 
of the soul, and to interpret them figuratively, while the door 
of a consistent explanation, and one everywhere in accord and 
harmony with the writings of the Divine Spirit, who had His 
abode in pure souls, is closed against us ? Celsus, then, is alto- 
gether ignorant of the purpose of our writings, and it is there- 

^ eiriuov, ^ exhilTrov. 


fore upon his own acceptation of them that he casts discredit, 
and not upon their real meaning ; whereas, if he had reflected 
on what is appropriate^ to a soul which is to enjoy an everlasting 
life, and on the opinion which we are to form of its essence 
and principles, he would not so have ridiculed the entrance 
of the immortal into a mortal body, which took place not 
according to the metempsychosis of Plato, but agreeably to 
another and higher view of things. And he would have ob- 
served one " descent," distinguished by its great benevolence, 
undertaken to convert (as the Scripture mystically terms them) 
the " lost sheep of the house of Israel," which had strayed down 
from the mountains, and to which the Shepherd is said in 
certain parables to have gone down, leaving on the mountains 
those ^^ which had not strayed." 

Chapter xviii. 

But Celsus, lingering over matters which he does not under- 
stand, leads us to be guilty of tautology, as we do not wish 
even in appearance to leave any one of his objections unex^ 
amined. He proceeds, accordingly, as follows : ^^ God either 
really changes himself, as these assert, into a mortal body, and 
the impossibility of that has been already declared ; or else he 
does 7iot undergo a change, but only causes the beholders to 
imagine so, and thus deceives them, and is guilty of falsehood. 
Now deceit and falsehood are nothing but evils, and would only 
be employed as a medicine, either in the case of sick and lunatic 
friends, with a view to their cure, or in that of enemies when 
one is taking measures to escape danger. But no sick man or 
lunatic is a friend of God, nor does God fear any one to such 
a degree as to shun danger by leading him into error." Now 
the answer to these statements might have respect partly to the 
nature of the Divine Word, who is God, and partly to the soul 
of Jesus. As respects the nature of the Word, in the same way 
as the quality of the food changes in the nurse into milk with 
reference to the nature of the child, or is arranged by the 
physician with a view to the good of his health in the case of a 
sick man, or [is specially] prepared for a stronger man, because 
he possesses greater vigour, so does God appropriately change, 

^ t/ ccKoMvhL 


in the case of each individual, the power of the Word to which 
belongs the natural property of nourishing the human soul. 
And to one is given, as the Scripture terms it, "the sincere 
milk of the word ; " and to another, who is weaker, as it were, 
" herbs ; " and to another who is full-grown, " strong meat." 
And the Word does not, I imagine, prove false to His own 
nature, in contributing nourishment to each one, according as 
he is capable of receiving Him. Nor does He mislead or prove 
false. But if one were to take the change as referring to the 
soul of Jesus after it had entered a body, we would inquire in 
what sense the term " change " is used. For if it be meant to 
apply to its essence, such a supposition is inadmissible, not only 
in relation to the soul of Jesus, but also to the rational soul of 
any other being. And if it be alleged that it suffers anything 
from the body when united with it, or from the place to which 
it has come, then what inconvenience ^ can happen to the Word 
who, in great benevolence, brought down a Saviour to the 
human race ? — seeing none of those who formerly professed to 
effect a cure could accomplish so much as that soul showed it 
could do, by what it performed, even by voluntarily descending 
to the level of human destinies for the benefit of our race. 
And the Divine Word, well knowing this, speaks to that effect 
in many passages of Scripture, although it is sufficient at pre- 
sent to quote one testimony of Paul to the following effect : 
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; 
who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be 
equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took 
upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness 
of men ; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled 
Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of 
the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and 

given Him a name which is above every name." ^ 
Chapter xix. 

Others, then, may concede to Celsus that God does not un- 
dergo a change, but leads the spectators to imagine that He 
does ; whereas we who are persuaded that the advent of Jesus 
among men was no mere appearance, but a real manifestation,^ 
1 t/ ktqttos/. 2 Phil. ii. 5-9. 


are not affected by this charge of Celsus. We nevertheless 
will attempt a reply, because you assert, Celsus, do you not, 
that it is sometimes allowable to employ deceit and falsehood 
by way, as it were, of medicine ? -^ Where, then, is the ab- 
surdity, if such a saving result were to be accomplished, 
that some such events should have taken place ? For certain 
words, when savouring of falsehood, produce upon such cha- 
racters a corrective effect (like the similar declarations of phy- 
sicians to their patients), rather than when spoken in the spirit 
of truth. This, however, must be our defence against other 
opponents. For there is no absurdity in Him who healed sick 
friends, healing the dear human race by means of such reme- 
dies as He would not employ preferentially, but only according 
to circumstances.^ The human race, moreover, when in a state 
of mental alienation, had to be cured by methods which the 
Word saw would aid in bringing back those so afflicted to a 
sound state of mind. But Celsus says also, that "one acts 
thus towards enemies when taking measures to escape danger. 
But God does not fear any one, so as to escape danger by 
leading, into error those who conspire against him." Now it 
is altogether unnecessary and absurd to answer a charge which 
is advanced by no one against our Saviour. And we have 
already replied, when answering other charges, to the state- 
ment that " no one who is either in a state of sickness or 
mental alienation is a friend of God." For the answer is, that 
such arrangements have been made, not for the sake of those 
who, being already friends, afterwards fell sick or became 
afflicted with mental disease, but in order that those who were 
still enemies through sickness of the soul, and alienation of the 
natural reason, might become the friends of God. For it is 
distinctly stated that Jesus endured all things on behalf of 
sinners, that He might free them from sin, and convert them 
to righteousness. 

Chapter xx. 
D In the next place, as he represents the Jews accounting in 

■•■ ofi,ag S' dToTiOyriffO^sdoi^ ort ov (p>7;, J KgAffS, ag iu <pxp/zxKOV fcoipec vori 
Qtooroii y^pyiaScci ra 'TrTiXVotv kxI tw ^pivhiaQoii. 
^ -TrpoT^yovfceuco;, osAA' sk Trspiarotascos. 


a way peculiar to themselves for their belief that the advent of 
Christ among them is still in the future, and the Christians as 
maintaining in tJieir way that the coming of the Son of God 
into the life of men has already taken place, let us, as far as 
we can, briefly consider these points. According to Celsus, the 
Jews say that ^' [human] life, being filled with all wickedness, 
needed one sent from God, that the wicked might be punished, 
and all things purified in a manner analogous to the first deluge 
which happened." And as the Christians are said to make 
statements additional to this, it is evident that he alleges that 
they admit these. Now, where is the absurdity in the coming 
of one who is, on account of the prevailing flood of wickedness, 
to purify the world, and to treat every one according to his 
deserts ? For it is not in keeping with the character of God 
that the diffusion of wickedness should not cease, and all things 
be renewed. The Greeks, moreover, know of the earth's beingi 
purified at certain times by a deluge or a fire, as Plato, too. 
says somewhere to this effect : " And when the gods over- 
whelm the earth, purifying it with water, some of them on the 
mountains," ^ etc. etc. Must it be said, then, that if the Greeks 
make such assertions, they are to be deemed worthy of respecl 
and consideration, but that if we too maintain certain of these 
views, which are quoted with approval by the Greeks, the) 
cease to be honourable ? And yet they who care to attend t( 
the connection and truth of all our records, will endeavour t( 
establish not only the antiquity of the writers, but the venerabh 
nature of their writings, and the consistency of their several parts 

Chapter xxi. 

But I do not understand how he can imamne the overturning 
of the tower [of Babel] to have happened with a similar objec 
to that of the deluge, which effected a purification of the earth 
according to the accounts both of Jews and Christians. For 
in order that the narrative contained in Genesis respecting th( 
tower may be held to convey no secret meaning, but, as Celsui 
supposes, may be taken as true to the letter,^ the event does noi 
on such a view appear to have taken place for the purpose oi 
purifying the earth ; unless, indeed, he imagines that the so- 

^ Cf. Plato in the Timseus, and Book iii. de legihts. ^ a»(pr,S' 


called confusion of tongues is such a purificatory process. But 
on this point, he who has the opportunity will treat more season- 
ably when his object is to show not only what is the meaning 
of the narrative in its historical connection, but what meta- 
phorical meaning may be deduced from it.^ Seeing that he 
imagines, however, that Moses, who wrote the account of the 
tower, and the confusion of tongues, has perverted the story of 
the sons of Aloeus,^ and referred it to the tower, we must remark 
that I do not think any one prior to the time of Homer ^ has 
mentioned the sons of Aloeus, while I am persuaded that what 
is related about the tower has been recorded by Moses as being 
much older not only than Homer, but even than the invention 
of letters among the Greeks. Who, then, are the perverters 
of each other's narratives ? Whether do they who relate the 
story of the Aloadae pervert the history of the time, or he who 
wrote the account of the tower and the confusion of tono;ues the 
story of the Aloadas ? Now to impartial hearers Moses appears 
to be more ancient than Homer. The destruction by fire, 
moreover, of Sodom and Gomorrha on account of their sins, 
related by Moses in Genesis, is compared by Celsus to the story 
of Phaethon, — all these statements of his resulting from one 
blunder, viz. his not attending to the [greater] antiquity of 
Moses. For they who relate the story of Phaethon seem to be 
younger even than Homer, who, again, is much younger than 
Moses. We do not deny, then, that the purificatory fire and 
the destruction of the world took place in order that evil might 
be swept away, and all things be renewed; for we assert that 
we have learned these things from the sacred books of the 
prophets. But since, as we have said in the preceding pages, 
the prophets, in uttering many predictions regarding future 
events, show that they have spoken the truth concerning many 
things that are past, and thus give evidence of the indwelling 
of the Divine Spirit, it is manifest that, with respect to things 
still future, we should repose faith in them, or rather in the 
Divine Spirit that is in them. 

^ 'E-rav ro 'TrpoKSi/^svov ri TrctpccarYiGUi xetl rx rijg xocrcc rou tottov iaropiocg 
riifcc 'ixoi T^oyou, Koci rd rvjg '^rspi ccvrov 6iva,yayvi<;. 

2 Otus and Ephialtes. Cf. Smith's Diet, of Myth, and Biog. s.v. 
s Cf. Horn. Odyss. xi. 305. 


Chapter xxii. 

But, according to Celsus, "the Christians, making certain 
additional statements to those of the Jews, assert that the Son of 
God has been already sent on account of the sins of the Jews ; 
and that the Jews having chastised Jesus, and given him gall to 
drink, have brought upon themselves the divine wrath." And 
any one who likes may convict this statement of falsehood, if it 
be not the case that the whole Jewish nation was overthrown 
within one single generation after Jesus had undergone these 
sufferings at their hands. For forty and two years, I think, 
after the date of the crucifixion of Jesus, did the destruction 
of Jerusalem take place. Now it has never been recorded, 
since the Jewish nation began to exist, that they have been 
expelled for so long a period from their venerable temple- wor- 
ship ^ and service, and enslaved by more powerful nations ; for 
if at any time they appeared to be abandoned because of their 
sins, they were notwithstanding visited [by God],^ and re- 
turned to their own country, and recovered their possessions, 
and performed unhindered the observances of their law. One 
fact, then, w^hich proves that Jesus was something divine and 
sacred,^ is this, that Jews should have suffered on His account 
now for a lengthened time calamities of such severity. And 
we say with confidence that they will never be restored to their 
former condition.* For they committed a crime of the most 
unhallowed kind, in conspiring against tlie Saviour of the 
human race in that city where they offered up to God a wor- 
ship containing the symbols of mighty mysteries. It accord- 
ingly behoved that city where Jesus underwent these sufferings 
to perish utterly, and the Jewish nation to be overthrown, and 
the invitation to happiness offered them by God to pass to 
others, — the Christians, I mean, to whom has come the doctrine 
of a pure and holy worship, and who have obtained new laws, 
in harmony with the established constitution in all countries 
seeing those which were formerly imposed, as on a single 

•'■ tkyiaTetets. ^ eTTsaKOTrndT^aocu. 

^ Qshi/ ri xocl Upou xpr-i^oc yzyoviyxi tou 'Iyktovv. 

* OyB' ccTTOfcocroiarccd'Jjaoyrxi., 

^ Kul up(/.6^ourocs TY^ '77cx.UTe/,-)coi/ Kccdiaraavi •^roX/rs/qs. 


nation which was ruled by princes of its own race and of similar 
manners,^ could not now be observed in all their entireness. 

Chapter xxiii. 

In the next place, ridiculing after his usual style the race 
of Jews and Christians, he compares them all ^^ to a flight of 
bats or to a swarm of ants issuing out of their nest, or to frogs 
holding council in a marsh, or to worms crawling together in 
the corner of a dunghill, and quarrelling with one another as 
to which of them were the greater sinners, and asserting that 
God shows and announces to us all things beforehand; and 
that, abandoning the whole world, and the regions of heaven,^ 
and this great earth, he becomes a citizen ^ among us alone, and 
to us alone makes his intimations, and does not cease sending 
and inquiring, in what way we may be associated with him for 
ever." And in his fictitious representation, he compares us to 
" worms which assert that there is a God, and that immediately 
after him, we who are made by him are altogether like unto 
God, and that all things have been made subject to us, — earth, 
and water, and air, and stars, — and that all things exist for our 
sake, and are ordained to be subject to us." And, according to 
his representation, the worms — that is, we ourselves — say that 
'^ now, since certain amongst us commit sin, God will come or 
will send his Son to consume the wicked with fire, that the 
rest of us may have eternal life with him." And to all this 
he subjoins the remark, that "w^such wranglings would be more 
endurable amongst worms and frogs than betwixt Jews and 

Chapter xxiv. 

In reply to these, we ask of those who accept such aspersions 
as are scattered against us. Do you regard all men as a collection 
of bats, or as frogs, or as worms, in consequence of the pre- 
eminence of God ? or do you not include the rest of mankind 
in this proposed comparison, but on account of their possession 
of reason, and of the established laws, treat tJiem as men, while 
you hold cheap ^ Christians and JewSj because their opinions 


are distasteful to you, and compare tliem to the animals above 
mentioned? And whatever answer you may return to our 
question, we shall reply by endeavouring to show that such 
assertions are most unbecoming, whether spoken of all men in 
general, or of us in particular. For, let it be supposed that you 
say justly that all men, as compared with God, are [rightly] 
likened to these worthless ^ animals, since their littleness is not 
at all to be compared with the superiority of God, what then 
do you mean by littleness? Answer me, good sirs. If you 
refer to littleness of body, know that superiority and inferiority, 
if truth is to be judge, are not determined by a bodily standard.^ 
For, on such a view, vultures ^ and elephants would be superior 
to us men ; for they are larger, and stronger, and longer-lived 
than we. But no sensible person would maintain that these 
irrational creatures are superior to rational beings, merely on 
account of their bodies : for the possession of reason raises a 
rational being to a vast superiority over all irrational creatures. 
Even the race of virtuous and blessed beino:s would admit this, 
whether they are, as ye say, good demons, or, as we are accus- 
tomed to call them, the angels of God, or any other natures 
whatever superior to that of man, since the rational faculty 
within them has been made perfect, and endowed with all 
virtuous qualities.'* 

Chapter xxv. 

But if you depreciate the littleness of man, not on account of 
his body, but of his soul, regarding it as inferior to that of other 
rational beings, and especially of those who are virtuous ; and 
inferior, because evil dwells in it, — why should those among 
Christians who are wicked, and those among the Jews who 
lead sinful lives, be termed a collection of bats, or ants, or 
w^orms, or frogs, rather than those individuals among other 
nations who are guilty of wickedness ? — seeing. In this respect, 
any individual whatever, especially if carried away by the tide 
of evil, is, in comparison with the rest of mankind, a bat, and 
worm, and frog, and ant. And although a man may be an 
orator like Demosthenes, yet, if stained with wickedness like 

^ svrs'hiai. ^ ovx. su aafiocri KpivsTUt. 


his/ and guilty of deeds proceeding, like his, from a wicked 
nature ; or an Antiphon, who was also considered to be indeed 
an orator, yet who annihilated the doctrine of providence in his 
writings, which were entitled Concerning Truth, like that dis- 
course of Celsus, — such individuals are notwithstanding worms, 
rolling in a corner of the dung-heap of stupidity and ignorance. 
Indeed, whatever be the nature of the rational faculty, it could 
not reasonably be compared to a worm, because it possesses 
capabilities of virtue.^ For these adumbrations ^ towards virtue 
do not allow of those who possess the power of acquiring it, 
and who are incapable of wholly losing its seeds, to be likened 
to a worm. It appears, therefore, that neither can men in 
general be deemed worms in comparison with God. For 
reason, having its beginning in the reason of God, cannot 
allow of the rational animal being considered wholly alien from 
Deity. Nor can those among Christians and Jews who are 
wicked, and who, in truth, are neither Christians nor Jews, be 
compared, more than other wicked men, to worms rolling in a 
corner of a dunghill. And if the nature of reason will not 
permit of such comparisons, it is manifest that we must not 
calumniate human nature, which has been formed for virtue, 
even if it should sin through ignorance, nor liken it to animals 
of the kind described. 


^H But if it is on account of those opinions of the Christians 
Huid Jews which displease Celsus (and which he does not at all 
appear to understand) that they are to be regarded as worms 
and ants, and the rest of mankind as different, let us examine 
the acknowledged opinions of Christians and Jews,* and com- 
pare them with those of the rest of mankind, and see wdiether 
it will not appear to those who have once admitted that certain 
men are worms and ants, that they are the worms and ants and 
frogs who have fallen away from sound views of God, and, 

1 The allusion may possibly be to his fligbt from the field of Chseronea, 
or to his avarice, or to the alleged impurity of his life, which is referred to 
by Plutarch in his Lives of the Ten Orators. — Spencer. 

^ cc(popf*ocs iy,ov -Trpo; ccpsTTJv. ^ vTrorvTrmui. 

*Ta etvr66iv vxai ';rpo(pxiu6fCivcc Zoyfiuroc 'Kpiarictvcjv xeci ^lovQcciau. 

Chapter xxvi. 


under a vain appearance of piety/ worship either irrational 
animals, or images, or other objects, the works of men's hands ;^ 
whereas, from the beauty of such, they ought to admire the 
Maker of them, and worship Him : while those are indeed men, 
and more honourable than men (if there be anything that is 
so), who, in obedience to their reason, are able to ascend from 
stocks and stones,^ nay, even from what is reckoned the most 
precious of all matter — silver and gold; and who ascend up 
also from the beautiful things in the world to the Maker of all, 
and entrust themselves to Him who alone is able to satisfy * all 
existing things, and to overlook the thoughts of all, and to hear 
the prayers of all ; who send up their prayers to Him, and do 
all things as in the presence of Him who beholds everything, 
and who are careful, as in the presence of the Hearer of all 
things, to say nothing which might not with propriety be reported 
to God. Will not such piety as this — which can be overcome 
neither by labours, nor by the dangers of death, nor by logical 
plausibilities^ — be of no avail in preventing those who have 
obtained it from being any longer compared to worms, even if 
they had been so represented before their assumption of a piety 
so remarkable ? Will they who subdue that fierce longing for 
sexual pleasures which has reduced the souls of many to a weak 
and feeble condition, and who subdue it because they are per- 
suaded that they cannot otherwise have communion with God, 
unless they ascend to Him through the exercise of temperance, 
appear to you to be the brothers of worms, and relatives of 
ants, and to bear a likeness to frogs ? What ! is the brilliant 
quality of justice, which keeps inviolate the rights common to 
our neighbour, and our kindred, and which observes fairness, 
and benevolence, and goodness, of no avail in saving him who 
practises it from being termed a bird of the night ? And are 
not they who wallow in dissoluteness, as do the majority of 
mankind, and they who associate promiscuously with common 
harlots, and who teach that such practices are not wholly con- 
trary to propriety, worms who roll in mire ? — especially when 
they are compared with those who have been taught not to take 
the " members of Christ," and the body inhabited by the Word, 

^ (petvroiata, o' svas/isicc;. ^ »j xccl rot 'hn^iovpy/i^urcc. ^ >.i6uv xeci ^yA«i». 


and make them the "members of a harlot;" and who have 
already learned that the body of the rational being, as conse- 
crated to the God of all things, is the temple of the God whom 
they worship, becoming such from the pure conceptions which 
they entertain of the Creator, and who also, being careful not 
to corrupt the temple of God by unlawful pleasure, practise 
temperance as constituting piety towards God ! 

Chapter xxvii. 

And I have not yet spoken of the other evils which prevail 
amongst men, from which even those who have the appearance 
of philosophers are not speedily freed, for in philosophy there 
are many pretenders. Nor do I say anything on the point that 
many such evils are found to exist among those who are neither 
Jews nor Christians. Of a truth, such evil practices do not at 
all prevail among Christians^ if you properly examine what con- 
stitutes a Christian. Or, if any persons of that kind should be 
discovered, they are at least not to be found among those w^ho 
frequent the assemblies, and come to the public prayers, with- 
out their being excluded from them, unless it should happen, 
and that rarely, that some one individual of such a character 
escapes notice in the crowd. We, then, are not worms who 
assemble together; who take our stand against the Jews on 
those Scriptures which they believe to be divine, and who show 
that He who was spoken of in prophecy has come, and that 
they have been abandoned on account of the greatness of their 
sins, and that we who have accepted the Word have the highest 
hopes in God, both because of our faith in Him, and of His 
ability to receive us into His communion pure from all evil and 
wickedness of life. If a man, then, should call himself a Jew 
or a Christian, he would not say without qualification that God 
had made the whole world, and the vault of heaven-^ for us in 
particular. But if a ipan is, as Jesus taught, pure in heart, 
and meek, and peaceful, and cheerfully submits to dangers for 
the sake of his religion, such an one might reasonably have con- 
fidence in God, and with a full apprehension of the word con- 
tained in the prophecies, might say this also : " All these things 
has God shown beforehand, and announced to us who believe." 

^ T'^V OVpX'JlOV (pOpXU. 


Chapter xxviii. . 

But since he has represented those whom he regards as 
worms, viz. the Christians, as saying that " God, having 
abandoned the heavenly regions, and despising this great earth, 
takes up His abode amongst us alone, and to us alone makes 
His announcements, and ceases not His messages and inquiries 
as to how we may become His associates for ever," we have to 
answer that he attributes to us words which we never uttered, 
seeing we both read and know that God loves all existing 
things, and loathes^ nothing which He has made, for He would 
not have created anything in hatred. We have, moreover, read 
the declaration : " And Thou sparest all things, because they 
are Thine, O lover of souls. For Thine incorruptible Spirit 
is in all. And therefore those also who have fallen away for 
a little time Thou rebukest, and admonishest, reminding them 
of their sins." - How can w^e assert that " God, leaving the 
I'egions of heaven, and the whole world, and despising this 
great earth, takes up His abode amongst us only," when we 
have found that all thoughtful persons must say in their 
prayers, that " the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord," ^ 
and that " the mercy of the Lord is upon all flesh ; " * and 
that God, being good, " maketh His sun to arise upon the evil 
and the good, and sendeth His rain upon the just and the 
unjust;"^ and that He encourages us to a similar course of 
action, in order that we may become His sons, and teaches us 
to extend the benefits which we enjoy, so far as in our power, 
to all men ? For He Himself is said to be the Saviour of all 
men, especially of them that believe;^ and Plis Christ to be the 
^^ propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for 
the sins of the whole world." ^ And this, then, is our answer 
to the allegations of Celsus. Certain other statements, in 
keeping with the character of the Jews, might be made by 
some of that nation, but certainly not by the Christians, who 
have been taught that " God commendeth His love towards us, 
in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us ; " ^ and 

1 (ili-hvaairui. ^ Cf. Wisd. of Solom. xi. 26, xii. 1, 2. 

3 Ps. xxxiii. 5. ^ Ecclus. xviii. 13. « Cf. Matt. v. 45. 

6 Cf. 1 Tim. iv. 10. ^ Cf. 1 John ii. 2. » Cf. Rom. v. 8. 


although " scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet per- 
aclventure for a good man some would even dare to die." ^ 
But now is Jesus declared to have come for the sake of sinners 
in all parts of the world (that they may forsake their sin, and 
entrust themselves to God), being called also, agreeably to an 
ancient custom of these Scriptures, the " Christ of God." 

Chapter xxix. 

But Celsus perhaps has misunderstood certain of those 
whom he has termed " worms," when they affirm that " God 
exists, and that we are next to Him." And he acts like those 
who would find fault with an entire sect of philosophers, on 
account of certain words uttered by some rash youth who, after 
a three days' attendance upon the lectures of a philosopher, 
should exalt himself above other people as inferior to himself, 
and devoid of philosophy. For we know that there are many 
creatures more honourable ^ than man ; and we have read that 
" God standeth in the congregation of gods," ^ but of gods who 
are not worshipped by the nations, " for all the gods of the 
nations are idols." * We have read also, that " God, standing 
in the congregation of the gods, judgeth among the gods." ^ 
We know, moreover, that "though there be that are called 
gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be gods many and 
lords many), but to us there is one God, the Father, of whom 
are all things, and we in Him ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by 
whom are all things, and we by Him." ^ And we know that 
in this way the angels are superior to men ; so that men, when 
made perfect, become like the angels. " For in the resurrection 
they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but the righteous 
are as the angels in heaven," ^ and also become " equal to the 
angels." ^ We know, too, that in the arrangement of the uni- 
verse there are certain beings termed "thrones," and others 
" dominions," and others " powers," and others " principalities ;" 
and we see that we men, who are far inferior to these, may 
entertain the hope that by a virtuous life, and by acting in all 
things agreeably to reason, we may rise to a likeness with all 

1 Cf. Rom. v. 7. 2 ri^Uirspu. ^ Cf. Ps. Ixxxii. 1. 

* l»ifA.6uix, Cf. Ps. xcvi. 5. ^ Cf. Ps. Ixxxii. 1. ^ 1 Cor. viii. 6, 6. 
7 Cf. Matt. xxii. 80. » Cf. Luke xx. 36. 


these. And, lastly, because " it dotli not yet appear what we 
shall be ; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be 
like God, and shall see Him as He is." ^ And if any one were 
to maintain what is asserted by some (either by those who 
possess intelligence or who do not, but have misconceived 
sound reason), that " God exists, and we are next to Him," I 
would interpret the word " we," by using in its stead, " We who 
act according to reason," or rather, " We virtuous^ w^ho act 
according to reason." ^ For, in our opinion, the same virtue 
belongs to all the blessed, so that the virtue of man and of 
God is identical.^ And therefore we are taught to become 
" perfect," as our Father in heaven is perfect.* No good and 
virtuous man, then, is a " worm rolling in filth," nor is a pious 
man an " ant," nor a righteous man a " frog ; " nor could one 
whose soul is enlightened with the bright light of truth be 
reasonably likened to a " bird of the night." 

Chapter xxx. 

It appears to me that Celsus has also misunderstood this 
statement, ^^ Let us make man in our image and likeness ;" ® 
and has therefore represented the "worms" as saying that, 
being created by God, we altogether resemble Him. If, how- 
ever, he had known the difference between man being created 
" in the image of God " and '^ after His likeness," and that God 
is recorded to have said, ''• Let us make man after our image 
and likeness," but that He made man "after the image" of 
God, but not then also "after His likeness,"^ he would not 
have represented us as saying that "we are altogether like 
Him." Moreover, we do not assert that the stars are subject 
to us ; since the resurrection which is called the " resurrection 

1 Cf. 1 John iii. 2. 

^ xofc< rovro y' a,y spftYiusvoift>i, ro "'^^s?? " T^iyuu ccurl rov ol Tioy/xo;, Kotl 
srt ^SiKhov^ 01 aTTOvhuloi T^oyi-Aoi. 

^ aars kuI vj ocvrv] oipirTi dv^puTrov kxI Qsov. Cf. Cicero, de leg. i. : "Jam 
vero virtus eadem in homine ac deo est, neque uUo alio in genio prseterea. 
Est autem virtus nihil aliud, quam in se perfecta, et ad summum perducta 
natura. Est igitur homini cum Deo similitudo." Cf. also Clemens Alex. 
Strom, vii. : Oy yotp, x,cc6x7rsp oi '2roHxoi, uHug^ 'ttuuv rviu avx'^v uDiTifjv 
dvdpuTTov 'hiyoyi.iv kccI Qsov. Cf. Theodoret, Serm. xi. — Spencer. 

4 Cf. Matt. V. 48. 5 Cf. Gen. i. 26. e Cf. Gen. i. 27. 


of the just," and which is understood by wise men, is compared 
to the sun, and moon, and stars, by him who said, " There is 
one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and 
another glory of the stars ; for one star differeth from another 
star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead."^ 
Daniel also prophesied long ago regarding these things.^ 
Celsus says further, that we assert that " all things have been 
arranged so as to be subject to us," having perhaps heard some 
of the intelligent among us speaking to that effect, and per- 
haps also not understanding the saying, that " he who is the 
greatest amongst us is the servant of all." ^ And if the Greeks 
say, '^ Then sun and moon are the slaves of mortal men," * they 
express approval of the statement, and give an explanation of 
its meaning ; but since such a statement is either not made at 
all by us, or is expressed in a different way, Celsus here too 
falsely accuses us. Moreover, we who, according to Celsus, are 
" worms," are represented by him as saying that, ^^ seeing some 
among us are guilty of sin, God will come to us, or will send 
His own Son, that He may consume the wicked, and that we 
other frogs may enjoy eternal life with Him." Observe how 
this venerable philosopher, like a low buffoon,^ turns into ridi- 
cule and mockery, and a subject of laughter, the announce- 
ment of a divine judgment, and of the punishment of the 
wicked, and of the reward of the righteous ; and subjoins to all 
this the remark, that " such statements w^ould be more endur- 
able if made by worms and frogs than by Christians and Jews 
who quarrel with one another!" We shall not, however, 
imitate his example, nor say similar things regarding those 
philosophers who profess to know the nature of all things, and 
who discuss with each other the manner in which all things 
were created, and how the heaven and earth originated, and all 
things in them ; and how the souls [of men], being either un- 
begotten, and not created by God, are yet governed by Him, 
and pass from one body to another ; ^ or being formed at the 
same time with the body, exist for ever or pass away. For 
instead of treating with respect and accepting the intention of 
those who have devoted themselves to the investigation of the 

^ Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 41, 42. 2 cf. Dan. xii. 3. ^ Cf. Matt. xx. 28. 

* Cf. Euiip. Fhceniss. 512. ^ /Sw^o^Jp^o?. ® kuI d^ii^avii aufietret. 

192 OniQEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book iv. 

truth, one might mockingly and revih'ngly say that such men 
were "worms," who did not measure themselves by their corner 
of their dung-heap in human life, and who accordingly gave 
forth their opinions on matters of such importance as if they 
understood them, and who strenuously assert that they have 
obtained a view of those things which cannot be seen without 
a higher inspiration and a diviner power. " For no man 
knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is 
in him : even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the 
Spirit of God."^ We are not, however, mad, nor do we com- 
pare such human wisdom (I use the word " wisdom " in the 
common acceptation), which busies itself not about the affairs 
of the multitude, but in the investigation of truth, to the 
wrigglings of worms or any other such creatures ; but in the 
spirit of truth, we testify of certain Greek philosophers that they 
knew God, seeing " He manifested Himself to them," ^ although 
" they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but 
became vain in their imaginations ; and professing themselves 
to be wise, they became foolish, and changed the glory of the 
incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, 
and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." ^ 

Chapter xxxi. 

After this, wishing to prove that there is no difference 
between Jews and Christians, and those animals previously 
enumerated by him, he asserts that the Jews were " fugitives 
from Egypt, who never performed anything worthy of note, 
and never were held in any reputation or account." * Now, 
on the point of their not being fugitives, nor Egyptians, but 
Hebrews who settled in Egypt, we have spoken in the pre- 
ceding pages. But if he thinks his statement, that "they 
were never held in any reputation or account," to be proved, 
because no remarkable event in their history is found recorded 
by the Greeks, we would answer, that if one will examine their 
polity from its first beginning, and the arrangement of their 
laws, he will find that they w^ere men who represented upon 
earth the shadow of a heavenly life, and that amongst them 

1 Cf. 1 Cor. ii. 11. 2 cf. Eom. i. 19. » Rom. i. 21-23. 

* our' £U Tioyo), ovt su dpiSfcu uiirov; 'Tzon ysysvYif^.ivov;. 


God is recognised as nothing else, save He who is over all 
things, and that amongst them no maker of images was per- 
mitted to enjoy the rights of citizenship.^ For neither painter 
nor image-maker existed in their state, the law expelling all 
such from it; that there might be no pretext for the con- 
struction of images, — an art which attracts the attention of 
foolish men, and which drags down the eyes of the soul from 
God to earth. There was, accordingly, amongst them a law to 
the following effect: ^' Do not transgress the law, and make to 
yourselves a graven image, any likeness of male or female ; 
either a likeness of any one of the creatures that are upon the 
earth, or a likeness of any winged fowl that flieth under the 
heaven, or a likeness of any creeping thing that creepeth upon 
the earth, or a likeness of any of the fishes which are in the 
waters under the earth." ^ The law, indeed, wished them to 
have regard to the truth of each individual thing, and not to 
form representations of things contrary to reality, feigning the 
appearance merely of what was really male or really female, 
or the nature of animals, or of birds, or of creeping things, or 
of fishes. Venerable, too, and grand was this prohibition of 
theirs : " Lift not up thine eyes unto heaven, lest, when thou 
seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and all the host of 
heaven, thou shouldst be led astray to worship them, and serve 
them." ^ And what a regime * was that under which the whole 
nation was placed, and which rendered it impossible for any 
effeminate person to appear in public f and worthy of admira- 
tion, too, was the arrangement by which harlots were removed 
out of the state, those incentives to the passions of the youth ! 
Their courts of justice also were composed of men of the 
strictest integrity, who, after having for a lengthened period 
set the example of an unstained life, were entrusted with the 
duty of presiding over the tribunals, and who, on account of 
the superhuman purity of their character,^ were said to be gods, 
in conformity with an ancient Jewish usage of speech. Here 
"was the spectacle of a whole nation devoted to philosophy ; and 
in order that there might be leisure to listen to their sacred 

1 ixo-KtnviTo. 2 Qi Deut '^y 16-18. 3 Cf. Deut. iv. 19. 

^ oi rtueg Z{x to Koidccpov '/}dog, kuI to vvrip oiydpuTrou. 


laws, the days termed " Sabbath,'* and the other festivals which 
existed among them, were instituted. And why need I speak 
of the orders of their priests and sacrifices, which contain in- 
numerable indications [of deeper truths] to those who wish to 
ascertain the signification of things ? 

Chapter xxxii. 

But since nothing belonging to human nature is permanent, 
this polity also must gradually be corrupted and changed. 
And Providence, having remodelled their venerable system- 
where it needed to be changed, so as to adapt it to men of all 
countries, gave to believers of all nations, in place of the Jews, 
the venerable religion of Jesus, who, being adorned not only 
with understanding, but also with a share of divinity,^ and 
having overthrown the doctrine regarding earthly demons, who 
dehght in frankincense, and blood, and in the exhalations of 
sacrificial odours, and who, like the fabled Titans or Giants, 
drag down men from thoughts of God; and having Himself dis- 
regarded their plots, directed chiefly against the better class of 
men, enacted laws which ensure happiness to those who live ac- 
cording to them, and who do not flatter the demons by means 
of sacrifices, but altogether despise them, through help of the 
word of God, which aids those who look upwards to Him. And 
as it was the will of God that the doctrine of Jesus should pre- 
vail amongst men, the demons could effect nothing, although 
straining every nerve ^ to accomplish the destruction of Chris- 
tians ; for they stirred up both princes, and senates, and rulers 
in every place, — nay, even nations themselves, who did not 
perceive the irrational and wicked procedure of the demons,- 
against the word, and those who believed in it ; yet, notwith- 
standing, the word of God, which is more powerful than all 
other things, even when meeting with opposition, deriving from 
the opposition, as it were, a means of increase, advanced onwards, 
and won many souls, such being the will of God. And we have 
offered these remarks by way of a necessary digression. For 
we wished to answer the assertion of Celsus concerning the 
Jews, that they were " fugitives from Egypt, and that these 
men, beloved by God, never accomplished anything worthy of 


note." And f urther^ in answer to the statement that " they were 
never held in any reputation or account," we say, that living 
apart as a '^chosen nation and a royal priesthood," and shunning 
intercourse with the many nations around them, in order that 
their morals might escape corruption, they enjoyed the protection 
of the divine power, neither coveting like the most of mankind 
the acquisition of other kingdoms, nor yet being abandoned 
so as to become, on account of their smallness, an easy object 
of attack to others, and thus be altogether destroyed ; and this 
lasted so long as they were worthy of the divine protection. 
But when it became necessary for them, as a nation wholly 
given to sin, to be brought back by their sufferings to their 
God, they were abandoned [by Him], sometimes for a longer, 
sometimes for a shorter period, until in the time of the 
Romans, having committed the greatest of sins in putting 
Jesus to death, they were completely deserted. 

Chapter xxxiii. 

Immediately after this, Celsus, assailing the contents of the 
first book of Moses, which is entitled " Genesis," asserts that 
" the Jews accordingly endeavoured to derive their origin from 
the first race of jugglers and deceivers,^ appealing to the 
testimony of dark and ambiguous words, whose meaning was 
veiled in obscurity, and which they misinterpreted ^ to the un- 
learned and ignorant, and that, too, when such a point had never 
been called in question during the long preceding period." 
Now Celsus appears to me in these words to have expressed 
very obscurely the meaning which he intended to convey. It is 
probable, indeed, that his obscurity on this subject is inten- 
tional, inasmuch as he saw the strength of the argument which 
establishes the descent of the Jews from their ancestors ; while 
again, on the other hand, he wished not to appear ignorant that 
the question regarding the Jews and their descent was one that 
could not be lightly disposed of. It is certain, however, that the 
Jews trace their genealogy back to the three fathers, Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob. And the names of these individuals possess 
such efficacy, when united with the name of God, that not 

^ d'TTo Trparin^ aTropx; yo'/iray kocI '^T^oc.yuu dudpaxau. 
^ TTups^nyovfiivot. 


only do those belonging to the nation employ in their prayers 
to God, and in the exorcising of demons, the words, ^' God of 
Abraham, and God of Isaac, and God of Jacob," but so also 
do almost all those who occupy themselves with incantations « 
and magical rites. For there is found in treatises on magic in 
many countries such an invocation of God, and assumption of 
the divine name, as implies a familiar use of it by these men in 
their dealings with demons. These facts, then — adduced by 
Jews and Christians to prove the sacred character of Abraham, 
and Isaac, and Jacob, the fathers of the Jewish race — appear 
to me not to have been altogether unknown to Celsus, but 
not to have been distinctly set forth by him, because he was 
unable to answer the argument which might be founded on 

Chapter xxxiv. 

For we inquire of all those who employ such invocations of 
God, saying : Tell us, friends, who was Abrahan;, and what sort 
of person was Isaac, and what power did Jacob possess, that the 
appellation " God," when joined with their name, could effect 
such wonders ? And from whom have you learned, or can you 
learn, the facts relating to these individuals ? And who has 
occupied himself with writing a history about them, either 
directly magnifying these men by ascribing to them mysterious 
powers, or hinting obscurely at their possession of certain great 
and marvellous qualities, patent to those who are qualified to 
see them?^ And when, in answer to our inquiry, no one can 
show from what history — whether Greek or barbarian — or, if 
not a history, yet at least from what mystical narrative,^ the 
accounts of these men are derived, we shall bring forward the 
book entitled " Genesis," which contains the acts of these men, 
and the divine oracles addressed to them, and will say, Does 
not the use by you of the names of these three ancestors of 
the race, establishing in the clearest manner that effects not to 
be lightly regarded are produced by the invocation of them, 

^ e'tTS xuf ctvTo^su o-£f/,uvuov<Tuu ku dTTopp'/.TOj; Toiis oiii^pag, sits xetl S/ 
CtouoiZu cchiatJO^iVYiV rivoi y.iya.y^u, Kcti $ccv(/.uaict rolg Gsapviacn wjtu, ^vya.' 

^ fivariicv}; ds/aypci(^r,;. 


evidence the divinity of the men ? ^ And yet we know them 
from no other source than the sacred books of the Jews ! 
Moreover, the phrases, " the God of Israel," and ^^ the God of 
the Hebrews," and " the God who drowned in the Ked Sea the 
king of Egypt and the Egyptians," are formulce frequently 
employed against demons and certain wicked powers. And we 
learn the history of the names and their interpretation from . 
those Hebrews, who in their national literature and national 
tongue dwell with pride upon these things, and explain their 
meaning. How, then, should the Jews attempt to derive their 
origin from the first race of those whom Celsus supposed to 
be jugglers and deceivers, and shamelessly endeavour to trace 
themselves and their beginning back to these? — whose names, 
being Hebrew, are an evidence to the Hebrews, who have their 
sacred books written in the Hebrew language and letters, that 
their nation is akin to these men. For up to the present time, 
the Jewish names belonging to the Hebrew language were 
either taken from their writings, or generally from words the 
meaning of which was made known by the Hebrew language. 

Chapter xxxv. 

And let any one who peruses the treatise of Celsus observe 
whether it does not convey some such insinuation as the above, 
when he says: " And they attempted to derive their origin from 
the first race of jugglers and deceivers, appealing to the testi- 
mony of dark and ambiguous words, whose meaning was veiled 
in obscurity." For these names are indeed obscure, and not 
within the comprehension and knowledge of many, though not 
in our opinion of doubtful meaning, even although assumed by 
those who are aliens to our religion ; but as, according to Celsus, 
they do not^ convey any ambiguity, I am at a loss to know why 
he has rejected them. And yet, if he had wished honestly to 
overturn the genealogy which he deemed the Jews to have 
so shamelessly arrogated, in boasting of Abraham and his 

ipovf^iv re' In (/.v^TTon to kuI v(^ ii^Zy '7rocpx'hoc[/>^a,viadoct roL 6v6/iictToe tuv 
rpiuv TOVTCJU ysvocpy^uv roit Uvcvg^ rvj ki/upysicc KccrocT^oc/xfixuouTUUf oi/x, ivx.ct.roc~ 
tfpo'JYira dvvsadott ix. r^s KocriTTiKkvicacd; ocvrcou, 'Trcx.piarriat ro dsiov ruv dv^puv^ 
Guietus would expunge the words rri st/xpys/x xa.rct,'Ka,^^a,vovruv. 

^ xxrci Bs KsAffoi*, oif 'Tirocpiara.uru. Lihri editi ad or am ag 'Trapiaruuroc. 


descendants [as their progenitors], he ought to have quated all 
the passages bearing on the subject ; and, in the first place, to 
have advocated his cause with such arguments as he thought 
likely to be convincing, and in the next to have bravely-^ refuted, 
by means of what appeared to him to be the true meaning, and 
by arguments in its favour, the errors existing on the subject. 
But neither Celsus nor any one else will be able, by their discus- 
sions regarding the nature of names employed for miraculous 
purposes, to lay down the correct doctrine regarding them, and 
to demonstrate that those men were to be lightly esteemed whose 
names merely, not among their countrymen alone, but also 
amongst foreigners, could accomplish [such results]. He ought 
to have shown, moreover, how we, in misinterpreting^ the 
passages in which these names are found, deceive our hearers, 
as he imagines, while he himself, who boasts that he is not 
ignorant or unintelligent, gives the true interpretation of them. 
And he hazarded the assertion,^ in speaking of those names, 
from which the Jews deduce their genealogies, that '^ never, 
during the long antecedent period, has there been any dispute 
about these names, but that at the present time the Jews 
dispute about them with certain others," whom he does not 
mention. Now, let him who chooses show who these are 
that dispute with the Jews, and who adduce even probable 
arguments to show^ that Jews and Christians do not decide cor- 
rectly on the points relating to these names, but that there are 
others who have discussed these questions with the greatest 
learning and accuracy. But we are well assured that none can 
establish anything of the sort, it being manifest that these 
names are derived from the Hebrew language, which is found 
only among the Jews. 

Chapter xxxvi. 

Celsus in the next place, producing from history other than 
that of the divine record, those passages which bear upon the 
claims to great antiquity put forth by many nations, as the 
Athenians, and Egyptians, and Arcadians, and Phrygians, who 
assert that certain individuals have existed among them who 
sprang from the earth, and who eacli adduce proofs of these 



assertions, says : " The Jews, then, leading a grovelling life ^ 
in some corner of Palestine, and being a wholly uneducated 
people, who had not heard that these matters had been com- 
mitted to verse long ago by Hesiod and innumerable other 
inspired men, wove together some most incredible and insipid 
stories,^ viz. that a certain man was formed by the hands of 
God, and had breathed into him the breath of life, and that a 
woman was taken from his side, and that God issued certain 
commands, and that a serpent opposed these, and gained a 
victory over the commandments of God ; thus relating certain 
old wives' fables, and most impiously representing God as weak 
at the very beginning [of things], and unable to convince even 
a single human being whom He Himself had formed." By 
these instances, indeed, this deeply read and learned Celsus, 
who accuses Jews and Christians of ic^norance and want of 
instruction, clearly evinces the accuracy of his knowledge of 
the chronology of the respective historians, whether Greek or 
Barbarian, since he imagines that Hesiod and the " innumer- 
able " others, whom he styles " inspired " men, are older than 
Moses and his writings — that very Moses who is shown to 
be much older than the time of the Trojan war ! It is not 
the Jews, then, who have composed incredible and insipid 
stories regarding the birth of man from the earth, but these 
"inspired" men of Celsus, Hesiod and his other "innumer- 
able" companions, who, having neither learned nor heard of 
the far older and most venerable accounts existing in Palestine, 
have written such histories as their Theogonies, attributing, 
so far as in their power, " generation " to their deities, and 
innumerable other absurdities. And these are the writers 
whom Plato expels from his " State" as being corrupters of the 
youth,^ — Homer, viz., and those who have composed poems of 
a similar description ! Now it is evident that Plato did not 
regard as " inspired " those men who had left behind them such 
works. But perhaps it was from a desire to cast reproach upon 
us, that this Epicurean Celsus, who is better able to judge than 
Plato (if it be the same Celsus who composed two other books 
against the Christians), called those individuals "inspired" 
whom he did not in reality regard as such. 

* avyx,v\pxi/rss, ^ ccy^ovaorxTx. ^ Gf. Plato, de Repuh. Book ii. etc. 


Chapter xxxvii. 

He charges us, moreoverj with introducing " a man formed 
by the hands of God," although the book of Genesis has made 
no mention of the " hands " of God, either when relating the 
creation or the " fashioning " ^ of the man ; while it is Job and 
David who have used the expression, " Thy hands have made 
me and fashioned me ; " ^ with reference to which it would 
need a lengthened discourse to point out the sense in which 
these words were understood by those who used them, both as 
regards the difference between " making " and *' fashioning," 
and also the "hands" of God. For those who do not under- 
stand these and similar expressions in the sacred Scriptures, 
imagine that we attribute to the God who is over all things a 
form ^ such as that of man ; and according to their conceptions, 
it follows that we consider the body of God to be furnished 
with wings, since the Scriptures, literally understood, attribute 
such appendages to God. The subject before us, however, 
does not require us to interpret these expressions ; for, in our 
explanatory remarks upon the book of Genesis, these matters 
have been made, to the best of our ability, a special subject of 
investigation. Observe next the malignity'^ of Celsus in what 
follows. For the Scripture, speaking of the " fashioning " ^ of 
the man, says, " And breathed into his face the breath of life, 
and the man became a living soul." ^ Whereon Celsus, wish- 
ing maliciously to ridicule the "inbreathing into his face of 
the breath of life," and not understanding the sense in which 
the expression was employed, states that " they composed a 
story that a man was fashioned by the hands of God, and was 
inflated by breath blown into him," ^ in order that, taking the 
word " inflated " to be used in a similar way to the inflation of 
skins, he might ridicule the statement, " He breathed into his 
face the breath of life," — terms which are used figuratively, 
and require to be explained in order to show that God com- 

^ i-zl ryi; Tr'Kciaeag. ^ Cf. Job X. 8 and Ps. cxix. 73. 

^ <r)C^l^oc. ■* KeacoTihiocu. 

^ TT'hoi.aicog. ^ Gen. ii. 7 ; Heb. V2X3, LXX. 'Trpoaaz-oy. 


municated to man of His incorruptible Spirit; as it is said, 
" For Thine incorruptible Spirit is in all things." ^ 

Chapter xxxviii. 

In the next place, as it iS his object to slander our Scriptures, 
he ridicules the following statement : " And God caused a deep 
sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept : and He took one of his 
ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which 
He had taken from the man, made He a woman," ^ and so on ; 
without quoting the words, which would give the hearer the 
impression that they are spoken with a figurative meaning. He 
would not even have it appear that the words were used alle- 
gorically, although he says afterwards, that ^^ the more modest 
among Jews and Christians are ashamed of these things, and 
endeavour to give them somehow an allegoriaal signification." 
Now we might say to him, Are the statements of your ^'inspired" 
Hesiod, which he makes regarding the woman in the form of a 
myth, to be explained allegorically, in the sense tliat she was 
given by Jove to men as an evil thing, and as a retribution for 
the theft of " the fire ;" ^ while that regarding the woman who 
was taken from the side of the man (after he had been buried 
in deep slumber), and was formed by God, appears to you to be 
related without any rational meaning and secret signification ? * 
But is it not uncandid, not to ridicule the former as myths, 
but to admire them as philosophical ideas in a mythical dress, 
and to treat with contempt ^ the latter, as offending the under- 
standing, and to declare that they are of no account ? For if, 
because of the mere phraseology, we are to find fault with what 
is intended to have a secret meaning, see whether the following 
lines of Hesiod, a man, as you say, " inspired," are not better 
fitted to excite laughter : 

" ' Son of lapetus ! ' with wrathful heart, 
Spake the cloud-gatherer : ' Oh, unjinatched in art ! 
Exultest thou in this the flame retrieved. 
And dost thou triumph in the God deceived ? 
But thou, with the posterity of man, 
Shalt rue the fraud whence mightier ills began ; 

^ Wisd. of Solom. xii. 1. 2 cf. Gen. ii. 21, 22. ^ oLvtI rou '^rvpog. 


T will send evil for thy stealthy fire, 
While all embrace it, and their bane desire.' 
The sire, who rules the earth, and sways the pole, 
Had said, and laughter fiU'd his secret soul. 
He bade the artist-god his hest obey, 
And mould with tempering waters ductile clay : 
Infuse, as breathing life and form began, 
The supple vigour, and the voice of man : 
Her aspect fair as goddesses above, 
A virgin's likeness, with the brows of love. 
He bade Minerva teach the skill that dyes 
The web with colours, as the shuttle flies ; 
He called the magic of Love's Queen to shed 
A nameless grace around her courteous head ; 
Instil the wish that longs with restless aim. 
And cares of dress that feed upon the frame : 
Bade Hermes last implant the craft refined 
Of artful manners, and a shameless mind. 
He said ; their king th' inferior powers obeyed: 
The fictile likeness of a bashful maid 
Eose from the temper'd earth, by Jove's behest, 
Under the forming God ; the zone and vest 
Were clasp'd and folded by Minerva's hand : 
The heaven-born graces, and persuasion bland 
Deck'd her round limbs with chains of gold : the hours 
Of loose locks twined her temples wdth spring flowers. 
The whole attire Minerva's curious care 
• Form'd to her shape, and fitted to her air. 
But in her breast the herald from above. 
Full of the counsels of deep thundering Jove, 
Wrought artful manners, wrought perfidious lies, 
And speech that thrills the blood, and lulls the wise. 
Her did th' interpreter of Gods proclaim, 
And named the woman with Pandora's name ; 
Since all the gods conferr'd their gifts, to charm^ 
For man's inventive race, this beauteous harm." ^ 

Moreover, what is said also about the casket is fitted of itself 
to excite laughter ; for example : 

" Whilome on earth the sons of men abode 
From ills apart, and labour's irksome load, 
And sore diseases, bringing age to man ; 
Now the sad life of mortals is a span. 

1 Hesiod, Works and Days, i. v. 73-114: (Elton's translation). 


The woman's hands a mighty casket bear ; 
She lifts the lid ; she scatters griefs in air : 
Alone, beneath the vessels' rims detained, 
Hope still within th' unbroken cell remained, 
Nor fled abroad ; so will'd cloud-gatherer Jove ; 
The woman's hand had dropp'd the lid above." ^ 

Now, to him who would give to these lines a grave allegorical 
meaning (whether any such meaning be contained in them or 
not), we would say : Are the Greeks alone at liberty to con- 
vey a philosophic meaning in a secret covering? or perhaps 
also the Egyptians, and those of the barbarians who pride 
themselves upon their mysteries and the truth [which is con- 
cealed within them] ; while the Jews alone, with their lawgiver 
and historians, appear to you the most unintelligent of men ? 
And is this the only nation which has not received a share of 
divine power, and which yet was so grandly instructed how to 
rise upwards to the uncreated nature of God, and to gaze on 
Him alone, and to expect from Him alone [the fulfilment of] 
their hopes ? 

Chapter xxxix. 

But as Celsus makes a jest also of the serpent, as counter- 
acting the injunctions given by God to the man, taking the 
narrative to be an old wife's fable,^ and has purposely neither 
mentioned the paradise ^ of God, nor stated that God is said to 
have planted it in Eden towards the east, and that there after- 
wards sprang up from the earth every tree that was beautiful 
to the sight, and good for food, and the tree of life in the midst 
of the paradise, and the tree of the knowledge of good and 
evil, and the other statements which follow, which might of 
themselves lead a candid reader to see that all these things 
had not inappropriately an allegorical meaning, let us contrast 
with this the words of Socrates regarding Eros in the Sympo- 
sium of Plato, and which are put in the mouth of Socrates as 
being more appropriate than what was said regarding him by 
all the others at the Symposium. The words of Plato are as 

^ Hesiod, Works and Days, i. v. 125-134 (Elton's translation). 

2 " i^vdou Tiux" '^rupccTir^.'/iaioit rolg '7rcx,puhthof/.ii/Qig reus ypuvah. 
^ vupuhtaos. 


follow : " When Aphrodite was born, the gods held a banquet, 
and there was present, along with the others, Porus the son of 
Metis. And after they had dined, Penia^ came to beg for 
something (seeing there was an entertainment), and she stood 
at the gate. Porus meantime, having become intoxicated with 
the nectar (for there was then no wine), went into the garden 
of Zeus, and being heavy with liquor, lay down to sleep. 
Penia accordingly formed a secret plot, with a view of freeing 
herself from her condition of poverty,^ to get a child by Porus, 
and accordingly lay down beside him, and became pregnant 
with Eros. And on this account Eros has become the follower 
and attendant of Aphrodite, having been begotten on her birth- 
day feast,^ and being at the same time by nature a lover of 
the beautiful, because Aphrodite too is beautiful. Seeing, then, 
that Eros is the son of Porus and Penia, the following is his 
condition.* In the first place, he is always poor, and far from 
being delicate and beautiful, as most persons imagine ; but is 
withered, and sunburnt,^ and unshod, and without a home, 
sleeping always upon the ground, and without a covering ; 
lying in the open air beside gates, and on public roads ; possess- 
ing the nature of his mother, and dwelling continually with 
indigence.^ But, on the other hand, in conformity with the 
character of his father, he is given to plotting against the 
beautiful and the good, being courageous, and hasty, and vehe- 
ment ; ^ a keen ^ hunter, perpetually devising contrivances ; 
both much given to forethought, and also fertile in resources ; ^ 
acting like a philosopher throughout the whole of his life ; a 
terrible ^^ sorcerer, and dealer in drugs, and a sophist as well ; 
neither immortal by nature nor yet mortal, but on the same 
day, at one time he flourishes and lives when he has plenty, 
and again at another time dies, and once more is recalled to 
life through possessing the nature of his father. But the sup- 
plies furnished to him are always gradually disappearing, so 
that he is never at any time in want, nor yet rich ; and, on the 
other hand, he occupies an intermediate position between wis- 

^ Penia, poverty ; Porus, abundance. ^ l^^ ^jj^ a,ur~^5 d-opiccv. 

^ iu roig iKSiurig ysuidhioig. * h rotccvry] rv)(,vi KuHarr.y.s. 

* CKhnpog xcil ccvx,i^r,pos. ^ ii/osi'x. "^ ov'jtovo;. 

® 'hituog. ^ Kc/A (ppovYiGiug i'Tri&vfinTrtg xxl Tropi/^og. ^^ hiuog yong. 


dom and ignorance." Now, if those who read these words 
were to imitate the malignity of Celsus — which be it far from 
Christians to do ! — they would ridicule the myth, and would 
turn this great Plato into a subject of jest ; but if, on investi- 
gating in a philosophic spirit what is conveyed in the dress of 
a myth, they should be able to discover the meaning of Plato, 
[they will admire] ^ the manner in which he was able to con- 
ceal, on account of the multitude, in the form of this myth, the 
great ideas which presented themselves to him, and to speak 
in a befitting manner to those who know how to ascertain from 
the myths the true meaning of him who wove them together. 
Now I have brought forward this myth occurring in the 
writings of Piato, because of the mention in it of the garden of 
Zeus, which appears to bear some resemblance to the paradise 
of God, and of the comparison between Penia and the serpent, 
and the plot against Porus by Penia, which may be compared 
with the plot of the serpent against the man. It is not very 
clear, indeed, whether Plato fell in with these stories by chance, 
or whether, as some think, meeting during his visit to Egypt 
with certain individuals who philosophized on the Jewish mys- 
teries, and learning some things from them, he may have pre- 
served a few of their ideas, and thrown others aside, being 
careful not to offend the Greeks by a complete adoption of all 
the points of the philosophy of the Jews, who were in bad 
repute with the multitude, on account of the foreign character 
of their laws and their peculiar polity. The present, however, 
is not the proper time for explaining either the myth of Plato, 
or the story of the serpent and the paradise of God, and all 
that is related to have taken place in it, as in our exposition oJF 
the book of Genesis we have especially occupied ourselves as 
we best could with these matters. 

Chapter xl. 

But as he asserts that " the Mosaic narrative most impiously 
represents God as in a state of weakness from the very com- 
mencement [of things], and as unable to gain over [to obe- 
dience] even one single man whom He Himself had formed," 

1 Boherellus, quern Ruseus sequitur, in notis ; " Ante voces : rhoe, rpo'^ov, 
videtur deesse : QuvyAaouTuiy aut quid simile." — Lommatzsch. 


we say in answer that the objection ^ is much the same as if one 
were to find fault with the existence of evil, which God has not 
been able to prevent even in the case of a single individual, 
so that one man might be found from the very beginning of 
things who was born into the world untainted by sin. For as 
those whose business it is to defend the doctrine of providence 
do so by means of arguments v/hich are not to be despised,^ 
so also the subjects of Adam and his son will be philosophically 
dealt with by those who are aware that in the Hebrew language 
Adam signifies man ; and that in those parts of the narrative 
which appear to refer to Adam as an individual, Moses is dis- 
coursing upon the nature of man in general.^ For " in A-dam" 
(as the Scripture * says) " all die," and were condemned in the 
likeness of Adam's transgression, the word of God asserting 
this not so much of one particular individual as of the vjJiole 
human race. For in the connected series of statements which 
appears to apply as to one particular individual, the curse 
pronounced upon Adam is regarded as common to all [the 
members of the race], and what was spoken with reference to 
the woman is spoken of every woman without exception.^ And 
the expulsion of the man and woman from paradise, and their 
being clothed with tunics of skins (which God, because of the 
transgression of men, made for those who had sinned), contain 
a certain secret and mystical doctrine (far transcending that of 
Plato) of the soul's losing its wings,^ and being borne down- 
wards to earth, until it can lay hold of some stable resting-place. 

Chapter xli. 

After this he continues as follows : " They speak, in the 
next place, of a deluge, and of a monstrous ^ ark, having within 
it all things, and of a dove and a crow^ as messengers, falsi- 
fying and recklessly altering ^ the story of Deucalion ; not ex- 

^ TO "hiyo^iVQv. ^ iv)ceiTci(Ppouyirav. 

^ CpvaidKoyii Isluvayiq tob vspi TTig rov dvdpaTrov (Dvascjs. 
* Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 22 with. Rom. v. 14. ^ ou>c hrt x.a.S' v;; ov T^sysrxi. 

^ -TrrspoppvovaY};. This is a correction for '7:repo(pvQV(jn;^ the textual reading 
in the Benedictine and Spencer's edd. 

^ dKhoKorov. ^ Kopavrj. 

® '7rocpx}co^poiTroursi xxl px^tovpyovvTSS' 



pecting, I suppose, that these things would come to light, but 
imagining that they were inventing stories merely for young 
children." Now in these remarks observe the hostility — so 
unbecoming a philosopher — displayed by this man towards this 
very ancient Jewish narrative. For, not being able to say any- 
thing against the history of the deluge, and not perceiving what 
he might have urged against the ark and its dimensions, — 
viz. that, according to the general opinion, which accepted the 
statements that it Was three hundred cubits in length, and fifty 
in breadth, and thirty in height, it was impossible to maintain 
that it contained [all] the animals that were upon the earth, 
fourteen specimens of every clean and four of every unclean 
beast, — he merely termed it " monstrous, containing all things 
within it." Now wherein was its " monstrous " character, seeing 
it is related to have been a hundred years in building, and to 
have had the three hundred cubits of its length and the fifty of 
its breadth contracted, until the thirty cubits of its height ter- 
minated in a top one cubit long and one cubit broad ? Why 
should we not rather admire a structure which resembled an 
extensive city, if its measurements be taken to mean what they 
are capable of meaning,-^ so that it was nine myriads of cubits 
long in the base, and two thousand five hundred in breadth ? 
And why should we not admire the design evinced in having 
it so compactly built, and rendered capable of sustaining a 
tempest which caused ^ deluge ? For it was not daubed with 
pitch, or any material of that kind, but was securely coated 
with bitumen. And is it not a subject of admiration, that by 
the providential arrangement of God, the elements of all the 
races were brought into it, that the earth might receive again 
the seeds of all living things, while God made use of a most 
righteous man to be the progenitor of those who were to be 
born after the deluge ? 

Chapter xlii. 

In order to show that he had read the book of Genesis, Celsus 
rejects the story of the dove, although unable to adddce any 
reason which might prove it to be a fiction. In the next place, 
as his habit is, in order to put the narrative in a more ridiculous 


light, lie converts the " raven " into a " crow," and imagines that 
Moses so wrote, having recklessly altered the accounts related 
of the Grecian Deucalion ; unless perhaps he regards the nar- 
rative as not having proceeded from Moses, but from several 
individuals, as appears from his employing the plural number 
in the expressions, "• falsifying and recklessly altering the story 
of Deucalion," -^ as well as from the words, " For they did not 
expect, I suppose, that these things would come to light." But 
how should they, who gave their Scriptures to the wliole nation, 
not expect that they would come to light, and who predicted, 
moreover, that this religion should be proclaimed to all nations ? 
Jesus declared, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from 
you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof ; " ^ 
and in uttering these words to the Jews, what other meaning 
did He intend to convey than this, viz. that He Himself should, 
through His divine power, bring forth into light the whole of 
the Jewish Scriptures, which contain the mysteries of the king- 
dom of God? If, then, they peruse the Theogonies of the 
Greeks, and the stories about the twelve gods, they impart to 
them an air of dignity, by investing them with an allegorical 
signification ; but when they wish to throw contempt upon our 
biblical narratives, they assert that they are fables, clumsily 
invented for infant children ! 

Chapter xliii. 

" Altogether absurd, and out of season," ^ he continues, " is 
the [account of the] begetting of children," where, although he 
has mentioned no names, it is evident that he is referring to the 
history of Abraham and Sarah. Cavilling also at the " con- 
spiracies of the brothers," he alludes either to the story of Cain 
plotting against Abel,* or, in addition, to that of Esau against 
Jacob ; ^ and [speaking] of " a father's sorrow," he probably 
refers to that of Isaac on account of the absence of Jacob, and 
perhaps also to that of Jacob because of Joseph having been 
sold into Egypt. And when relating the " crafty procedure of 
mothers," I suppose he means the conduct of Rebecca, who 
contrived that the blessing of Isaac should descend, not upon 

^ 'KOipex.xct^ar'vav'riq kuI pochiovpyouvrsi: ^ Cf. Matt. xxi. 43. 

3 liupov. ^ Cf. Geu. iv. 8. « Cf. Gen. xxi. 2. 


Esau, but upon Jacob. Now if we assert that in all these cases 
God interposed in a very marked degree/ what absurdity do we 
commit, seeing we are persuaded that He never withdraws His 
providence ^ from those who devote themselves to Him in an 
honourable and vigorous^ life? He ridicules, moreover, the 
acquisition of property made by Jacob while living with Laban, 
not understanding to what these words refer : " And those 
which had no spots were Laban's, and those which were spotted 
were Jacob's ;"^ and he says that " God presented his sons with 
asses, and sheep, and camels," ^ and did not see that " all these 
things happened unto them for ensamples, and were written for 
our sake, upon whom the ends of the world are come." ^ The 
varying customs [prevailing among the different nations] be- 
coming famous,^ are regulated by the word of God, being given 
as a possession to him who is figuratively termed Jacob. For 
those who become converts to Christ from among the heathen, 
are indicated by the history of Laban and Jacob. 

Chapter xliv. 

And erring widely from the meaning of Scripture, he says 
that " God gave wells ® also to the righteous." Now he did 
not observe that the righteous do not construct cisterns/ but 
dig wells, seeking to discover the inherent ground and source 
of potable blessings,^^ inasmuch as they receive in a figurative 
sense the commandment which enjoins, "Drink waters from 
your own vessels, and from your own wells of fresh water. 
Let not your water be poured out beyond your own fountain, 

* Cf. Gen. XXX. 42 (LXX.). " The feebler were Laban's, and the 
stronger Jacob's " (Auth. Vers.). 

5 Cf. Gen. XXX. 43. 

« Cf. 1 Cor. X. 11. 
'TTccp olg T06 ttoikIt^oc ^6-/i ix'iG-fi^a, yivoy.vju^ 70) T^oya tou ©sot/ 7ro7\.n£veTcci, 
Zv&ii/Tce, y.TY,oiz tu rpo'TziKug KxT^ov/icsua 'losxw/3: iTria-fi^oe, is the term employed 
to denote the " spotted " cattle of Laban, and is here used by Origen in its 
figurative sense of " distinguished," thus playing on the double meaning of 
the word. 

® (ppSXTCC. 9 T^UKKOVg. 

^® rviv hjvTrupxovax'j y~/iv kxI dp)C'^u tcju -Trorifcau dyadau. Boherellus pro- 

Tviv li/VTTxpxovaoiu Trny^u Kotl dpx,'^u ruv 'TTOTifcujv CooiTa!/. 

210 OniGEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book iv. 

but let it pass into your own streets. Let it belong to you 
alone, and let no alien partake with tliee."^ Scripture fre- 
quently makes use of tlie histories of real events, in order to 
present to view more important truths, which are but obscurely 
intimated ; and of this kind are the narratives relating to the 
" wells," and to the " marriages," and to the various acts of 
" sexual intercourse " recorded of righteous persons, respecting 
which, however, it will be more seasonable to offer an explana- 
tion in the exegetical writings referring to those very passages. 
But that wells were constructed by righteous men in the land 
of the Philistines, as related in the book of Genesis,^ is manifest 
from the wonderful wells which are shown at Ascalon, and 
which are deservinoj of mention on account of their structure, 
SO foreign and peculiar compared with that of other wells. 
Moreover, that both young w^omen ^ and female servants are to 
be understood metaphorically, is not our doctrine merely, but 
one which we have received from the beginning from wise 
men, among whom a certain one said, when exhorting his 
hearers to investigate the figurative meaning: "Tell me, ye 
that read the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written 
that Abraham had two sons ; the one by a bond maid, the other 
by a free woman. But he who was of the bond woman was 
born after the flesh ; but he of the free woman was by promise. 
Which things are an allegory : for these are the two covenants ; 
the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, 
which is Agar.'* * And a little after, " But Jerusalem which 
is above is free, which is the mother of us all." And any one 
who will take up the Epistle to the Galatians may learn how 
the passages relating to the *^ marriages," and the intercourse 
with " the maid-servants," have been allegorized ; the Scripture 
desiring us to imitate not the literal acts of those who did these 
things, but (as the apostles of Jesus are accustomed to call 
them) the spiritual. 

Chapter xlv. 

And whereas Celsus ought to have recognised the love oi 
truth displayed by the writers of sacred Scripture, who have 

1 Gf. Prov. v. 15-17. » Cf. Gen. xxvi. 15. 

3 v{>(^(pcii. •* Cf. Gal. iv. 21-24. 


not concealed even wliat is to their discredit,^ and thus been led 
to accept the other and more marvellous accounts as true, he 
has done the reverse, and has characterized the story of Lot 
and his daughters (without examining either its literal or its 
figurative meaning) as "worse than the crimes of Thyestes." 
The figurative signification of that passage of history it is not 
necessary at present to explain, nor what is meant by Sodom, 
and by the words of the angels to him who was escaping thence, 
I when they said : " Look not behind thee, neither stay thou in 
j all the surrounding district; escape to the mountain, lest thou 
be consumed ; " ^ nor what is intended by Lot and his wife, 
who became a pillar of salt because she turned back ; nor by 
his daughters intoxicating their father, that they might become 
mothers by him. But let us in a few words soften down the 
repulsive features of the history. The nature of actions — good, 
bad, and indifferent — has been investigated by the Greeks ; and 
the more successful of such investigators ^ lay dow^n the prin- 
ciple that intention alone gives to actions the character of good 
or bad, and that all things which are done without a purpose 
are, strictly speaking, indifferent; that when the intention is 
directed to a becoming end, it is praiseworthy; when the re- 
verse, it is censurable. They have said, accordingly, in the 
section relating to " things indifferent," that, strictly speaking, 
for a man to have sexual intercourse with his daughters is a 
thing indifferent, although such a thing ought not to take place 
in established communities. And for the sake of hypothesis, 
in order to show that such an act belongs to the class of things 
indifferent, they have assumed the case of a wise man being 
left with an only daughter, the entire human race besides 
having perished ; and they put the question whether the father 
can fitly have intercourse with his daughter, in order, agree- 
ably to the supposition, to prevent the extermination of man- 
kind. Is this to be accounted sound reasoning among the 
Greeks, and to be commended by the influential * sect of the 
Stoics ; but when young maidens, who had heard of the burning 
of the world, though without comprehending [its full meaning], 
saw fire devastating their city and country, and supposing that 

^ r» d7rifi(Puivovroc. 2 Qq^^ xix. 17. 


the only means left of rekindling the flame ^ of human life lay 
in their father and themselves, should, on such a supposition, 
conceive the desire that the world should continue, shall their 
conduct be deemed worse than that of the wise man who, 
according to the hypothesis of the Stoics, acts becomingly in 
having intercourse with his daughters in the case already sup- 
posed, of all men having been destroyed? I am not unaware, 
however, that some have taken offence at the desire ^ of Lot's 
daughters, and have regarded their conduct as very wicked; 
and have said that two accursed nations — ^Moab and Ammon — 
have sprung from that unhallowed intercourse. And yet truly 
sacred Scripture is nowhere found distinctly approving of their 
conduct as good, nor yet passing sentence upon it as blame- 
worthy. Nevertheless, whatever be the real state of the case, 
it admits not only of a figurative meaning, but also of being 
defended on its own merits.^ 

Chapter xlvi. I 

Celsus, moreover, sneers at the " hatred " of Esau (to which, 
I suppose, he refers) against Jacob, although he was a man 
who, according to the Scriptures, is acknowledged to have been 
wicked ; and not clearly stating the story of Simeon and Levi, 
who sallied out [on the Shechemites] on account of the insult 
offered to their sister, who had been violated by the son of the 
Shechemite king, he inveighs against their conduct. And pass- 
ing on, he speaks of " brothers selling [one another]," alluding 
to the sons of Jacob ; and of " a brother sold," Joseph to wit ; 
and of " a father deceived," viz. Jacob, because he entertained 
no suspicion of his sons when they showed him Joseph's coat 
of many colours, but believed their statement, and mourned for 
his son, who was a slave in Egypt, as if he were dead. And 
observe in what a spirit of hatred and falsehood Celsus coUects^ 
together the statements of the sacred history ; so that wherever* 
it appeared to him to contain a ground of accusation he pro- 
duces the passage, but wherever there is any exhibition of 
virtue worthy of mention — as when Joseph would not gratif} 
the lust of his mistress, refusing alike her allurements and hei 


threats — he does not even mention the circumstance ! He 
should see, indeed, that the conduct of Joseph was far superior 
to what is related of Bellerophon,-^ since the former chose 
rather to be shut up in prison than do violence to his virtue. 
For although he might have offered a just defence against 
his accuser, he magnanimously remained silent, entrusting his 
cause to God. 

Chapter xlvii. 

Celsus next, for form's sake,^ and with great want of pre- 
cision, speaks of "the dreams of the chief butler and chief 
baker, and of Pharaoh, and of the explanation of them, in con- 
sequence of which Joseph was taken out of prison in order to 
be entrusted by Pharaoh with the second place in Egypt." 
What absurdity, then, did the history contain, looked at even 
in itself, that it should be adduced as matter of accusation by 
this Celsus, who gave the title of True Discourse to a treatise 
not containing doctrines, but full of charges against Jews and 
Christians ? He adds : " He who had been sold behaved kindly 
to his brethren (who had sold him), when they were suffering 
from hunger, and had been sent with their asses to purchase 
[provisions];" although he has not related these occurrences [in 
his treatise]. But he does mention the circumstance of Joseph 
making himself known to his brethren, although I know not 
with what view, or what absurdity he can point out in such an 
occurrence ; since it is impossible for Momus himself, we might 
say, to find any reasonable fault with events which, apart from 
their figurative meaning, present so much that is attractive. 
He relates, further, that " Joseph, who had been sold as a slave, 
was restored to liberty, and went up with a solemn procession 
to his father's funeral," and thinks that the narrative furnishes 
matter of accusation against us, as he makes the following 
remark : " By whom (Joseph, namely) the illustrious and 
divine nation of the Jews, after growing up in Egypt to be a 
multitude of people, was commanded to sojourn somewhere 
beyond the limits of the kingdom, and to pasture their flocks 
in districts of no repute." Now the words, " that they were 
commanded to pasture their flocks in districts of no repute," 
1 Cf. Homer, lliad^ vi. 160. 2 ^^[^^ hvAiu. 


are an addition, proceeding from his own feelings of hatred ; 
for he has not shown that Goshen, the district of Egypt, is a 
place of no repute. The exodus of the people from Egypt he 
calls a flight, not at all remembering what is w^ritten in the 
book of Exodus regarding the departure of the Hebrews from 
the land of Egypt, We have enumerated these instances to 
show that what, literally considered, might appear to furnish 
ground of accusation, Celsus has not succeeded in proving to 
be either objectionable or foolish, having utterly failed to estab- 
lish the evil character, as he regards it, of our Scriptures. 

Chapter xlviii. 

In the next place, as if he had devoted himself solely to the 
manifestation of his hatred and dislike of the Jewish and 
Christian doctrine, he says : " The more modest of Jewish and 
Christian writers give all these things an allegorical meaning ;" 
and, "Because they are ashamed of these things, they take 
refuge in allegory." Now one might say to him, that if we 
must admit fables and fictions, whether written with a con- 
cealed meaning or with any other object, to be shameful narra- 
tives when taken in their literal acceptation,-^ of what histories 
can this be said more truly than of the Grecian? In these 
histories, gods who are sons castrate the gods who are their 
fathers, and gods who are parents devour their own children, 
and a goddess-mother gives to the " father of gods and men " 
a stone to swallow instead of his own son, and a father has 
intercourse wuth his daughter, and a wife binds her own husband, 
having as her allies in the work the brother of the fettered god 
and his own daughter! But why should I enumerate these 
absurd stories of the Greeks regarding their gods, which are 
most shameful in themselves, even though invested with an 
allegorical meaning? [Take the instance] where Chrysippus 
of Soli, who is considered to be an ornament of the Stoic sect, 
on account of his numerous and learned treatises, explains a 
picture at Samos, in which Juno was represented as committing 
unspeakable abominations with Jupiter. This reverend philo- 
sopher says in his treatises, that matter receives the spermatic 
words ^ of the god, and retains them within herself, in order to 


ornament the universe. For in the picture at Samos Juno 
represents matter, and Jupiter God. Now it is on account 
of these, and of countless other similar fables, that we would 
not even in w^ord call the God of all things Jupiter, or 
the sun Apollo, or the moon Diana. But we offer to the 
Creator a worship which is pure, and speak with religious 
respect of His noble works of creation, not contaminating even 
in word the things of God; approving of the language of Plato 
in the Philehus, who would not admit that pleasure was a 
goddess, " so great is my reverence, Protarchus," he says, " for 
the very names of the gods." We verily entertain such reve- 
rence for the name of God, and for His noble works of creation, 
that we would not, even under pretext of an allegorical mean- 
ing, admit any fable which might do injury to the young. 

Chapter xlix. 

If Celsus had read the Scriptures in an impartial spirit, 
he would not have said that "our writings are incapable of 
admitting an allegorical meaning." For from the prophetic 
Scriptures, in which historical events are recorded (not from 
the historical), it is possible to be convinced that the historical 
portions also were written with an allegorical purpose, and were 
most skilfully adapted not only to the multitude of the simpler 
believers, but also to the few who are able or willing to inves- 
tigate matters in an intelligent spirit. If, indeed, those writers 
at the present day who are deemed by Celsus the " more modest 
of the Jews and Christians " were the [first] allegorical inter- 
preters of our Scriptures, he would have the appearance, per- 
haps, of making a plausible allegation. But since the very 
fathers and authors of the doctrines themselves give them an 
allegorical signification, what other inference can be drawn than 
that they were composed so as to be allegorically understood 
in their chief signification ? ^ And 'sve shall adduce a few 
instances out of very many to show that Celsus brings an empty 
charge against the Scriptures, when he says "that they are 
incapable of admitting an allegorical meaning." Paul, the 
apostle of Jesus, says : " It is written in the law, Thou shalt 
not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. 


Doth God take care for oxen ? or saith He it altogether for our 
sakes ? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he that 
plougheth should plough in hope, and he that thresheth in hope 
of partaking." ^ And in another passage the same Paul says : 
^' For it is written, For this cause shall a man leave his father 
and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall 
be one flesh. This is a great mystery ; but I speak concerning 
Christ and the church."^ And again, in another place: "We 
know that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed 
through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud, 
and in the sea."^ Then, explaining the history relating to the 
manna, and that referring to the miraculous issue of the water 
from the rock, he continues as follows : " And they did all eat 
the sanie spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual 
drink. For they drank of that spiritual rock that followed 
them, and that rock was Christ."* Asaph, moreover, who, in 
showing the histories in Exodus and Numbers to be full of 
difficulties and parables,^ begins in the following manner, as 
recorded in the book of Psalms, where he is about to make 
mention of these things : " Give ear, O my people, to my law : 
incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my 
mouth in parables ; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we 
have heard and known, and our fathers have told us." ^ 

Chapter l. 

Moreover, if the law of Moses had contained nothing which 
was to be understood as having a secret meaning, the prophet 
would not have said in his prayer to God, " Open Thou mine 
eyes, and I will behold wondrous things out of Thy law ; " -^ 
whereas he knew that there was a veil of ignorance lying upon 
the heart of those who read but do not understand the figurative 
meaning, which veil is taken away by the gift of God, when 
He hears him who has done- all that he can,^ and who by reason 
of habit has his senses exercised to distinguish between good 

1 Cf. 1 Cor. ix. 9, 10, and Deut. xxv. 4. 

2 Cf. Eph. V. 31, 32. Cf. Gen. ii. 21. 3 Qf, i Cor. x. 1, 2. 

^ Cf. 1 Cor. X. 3, 4. ^ '7:po^\Y,y.a,ra, kuI -TTxpot/SoT^ui. 

c Cf. Ps. Ixxxvii. 1, 2. 7 Cf. Ps. cxix. 18. 

^ STToiv iTTUKOVa'/j tOV 'KO,^ SCtVTOV TTUVTCi 7ror/,(rxvTOS, 


and evil, and who continually utters the prayer, '^ Open Thou 
mine eyes, and I will behold wondrous things out of Thy law." 
And who is there that, on reading of the dragon that lives in 
the Egyptian river,^ and of the fishes which lurk in his scales, 
or of the excrement of Pharaoh which fills the mountains of 
Egypt,^ is not led at once to inquire who he is that fills the 
Egyptian mountains with his stinking excrement, and what the 
Egyptian mountains are ; and what the rivers in Egypt are, of 
which the aforesaid Pharaoh boastfully says, '' The rivers are 
mine, and I have made them ; " ^ and who the dragon is, and 
the fishes in its scales, — and this so as to harmonize with the 
interpretation to be given of the rivers? But why establish 
at greater lensjth what needs no demonstration ? For to these 
things applies the saying ; '' Who is wise, and he shall under- 
stand these things ? or who is prudent, and he shall know 
them ? " ^ Now I have gone at some length into the subject, 
because I wished to show, the unsoundness of the assertion of 
Celsus, that " the more modest among the Jews and Christians 
endeavour somehow to give these stories an allegorical significa- 
tion, although some of them do not admit of this, but on the 
contrary are exceedingly silly inventions." Much rather are 
the stories of the Greeks not only very silly, but very impious 
inventions. For our narratives keep expressly in view the 
multitude of simpler believers, which was not done by those 
who invented the Grecian fables. And therefore not without 
propriety does Plato expel from his state all fables and poems 
of such a nature as those of which we have been speaking. 

Chapter li. 

Celsus appears to me to have heard that there are treatises 
in existence which contain allegorical explanations of the law 
of Moses. These, however, he could not have read ; for if he 
had, he would not have said : " The allegorical explanations, 
however, which have been devised, are much more shameful 
and absurd than the fables themselves, inasmuch as they endea- 
vour to unite with marvellous and altogether insensate folly 
thinfTS which cannot at all be made to harmonize." He seems 

1 Cf. Ezek. xxix. 8. 2 cf. Ezek. xxxii. 6. 

3 Cf. Ezek. xxix. 3. * Cf. Hos. xiv. 9. 


to refer in these words to the works of Philo, or to those of 
still older writers, such as Aristobalus. But I conjecture that 
Celsus has not read their books, since it appears to me that in 
many passages they have so successfully hit the meaning [of 
the sacred writers], that even Grecian philosophers would have 
been captivated by their explanations ; for in their writings 
we find not only a polished style, but exquisite thoughts and 
doctrines, and a rational use of what Celsus imagines to be 
fables in the sacred writings. I know, moreover, that Nume- 
nius the Pythagorean — a surpassingly excellent expounder of 
Plato, and who held a foremost place as a teacher of the 
doctrines of Pythagoras — in many of his works quotes from the 
writings of Moses and the prophets, and applies to the passages 
in question a not improbable allegorical meaning, as in his work 
called EpopSy and in those which treat of " Numbers " and of 
" Place." And in the third book of his dissertation on TJie Good, 
he quotes also a narrative regarding Jesus — without, however, 
mentioning His name — and gives it an allegorical signification, 
whether successfully or the reverse I may state on another 
occasion. He relates also the account respecting Moses, and 
Jannes, and Jambres."^ But we are not elated on account of 
this instance, though we express our approval of Numenius, 
rather than of Celsus and other Greeks, because he was willing 
to investigate our histories from a desire to acquire knowledge^ 
and was [duly] affected by them as narratives which were to be 
allegorically understood, and which did not belong to the cate- 
gory of foolish compositions. 

Chapter lit. 

After this, selecting from all the treatises which contain 
allegorical explanations and interpretations, expressed in a lan- 
guage and style not to be despised, the least important,^ such 
as might contribute, indeed, to strengthen the faith of the 
multitude of simple believers, but were not adapted to impress 
those of more intelligent mind, he continues : " Of such a 
nature do I know the work to be, entitled Controversy between 
one Fapiscus and Jason, which is fitted to excite pity and hatred 
instead of laughter. It is not my purpose, however, to confute 
1 Cf. 2 Tim. iii. 8. ^ ^j clrshiarspav. 


the statements contained in such works ; for their fallacy is 
manifest to all, especially if any one will have the patience to 
read the books themselves. Kather do I wish to show that 
Nature teaches this, that God made nothing that is mortal, but 
that His works, whatever they are, are immortal, and theirs 
mortal. And the soul ^ is the work of God, while the nature 
of the body is diiferent. And in this respect there is no differ- 
ence between the body of a bat, or of a worm, or of a frog, 
and that of a man ; for the matter ^ is the same, and their cor- 
ruptible part is alike." Nevertheless I could wish that every 
one who heard Celsus declaiming and asserting that the treatise 
entitled Controversy between Jason and Fapiscus regarding 
Christ was fitted to excite not laughter, but hatred, could take 
the work into his hands, and patiently listen to its contents ; 
that, finding in it nothing to excite hatred, he might condemn 
Celsus out of the book itself. For if it be impartially perused, 
it will be found that there is nothing to excite even laughter in 
a work in which a Christian is described as conversing with a 
Jew on the subject of the Jewish Scriptures, and proving that 
the predictions regarding Christ fitly apply to Jesus ; although 
the other disputant maintains the discussion in no ignoble style, 
and in a manner not unbecoming the character of a Jew. 

Chapter liii. 

I do not know, indeed, how he could conjoin things that do 
not admit of union, and which cannot exist together at the 
same time in human nature, in saying, as he did, that " the 
above treatise deserved to be treated both with pity and hatred." 
For every one will admit that he who is the object of pity is 
not at the same moment an object of hatred, and that he who 
is the object of hatred is not at the same time a subject of pity. 
Celsus, moreover, says that it was not his purpose to refute such 
statements, because he thinks that their absurdity is evident to 
all, and that, even before offering any logical refutation, they 
will appear to be bad, and to merit both pity and hatred. But 
we invite him who peruses this reply of ours to the charges of 
Celsus to have patience, and to listen to our sacred writings 
themselves, and, as far as possible, to form an opinion from 
1 ■^vx,vi. 2 vM' 


their contents of the purpose of the writers, and of their 
consciences and disposition of mind ; for he will discover that 
they are men who strenuously contend for what they uphold, and 
that some of them show that the history which they narrate 
is one which they have both seen and experienced,-^ which was 
miraculous, and worthy of being recorded for the advantage of 
their future hearers. Will any one indeed venture to say that 
it is not the source and fountain of all blessing^ [to men] to 
believe in the God of all things, and to perform all our actions 
with the view of pleasing Him in everything whatever, and 
not to entertain even a thought unpleasing to Him, seeing that 
not only our words and deeds, but our very thoughts, will 
be the subject of future judgment? And what other argu- 
ments would more effectually lead human nature to adopt a 
virtuous life, than the belief or opinion that the supreme God 
beholds all things, not only what is said and done, but even 
what is thought by us? And let any one who likes com- 
pare any other system which at the same time converts and 
ameliorates, not merely one or two individuals, but, as far as 
in it lies, countless numbers, that by the comparison of both 
methods he may form a correct idea of the arguments which 
dispose to a virtuous life. 

Chapter liy. 

But as in the words which I quoted from Celsus, which are a 
paraphrase from the Timceus, certain expressions occur, such 
as, *' God made nothiifg mortal, but immortal things alone, \ 
while mortal things are the works of others, and the soul is a 
work of God, but the nature of the body is different, and there 
is no difference between the body of a man and that of a bat, 
or of a worm, or of a frog ; for the matter is the same, and 
their corruptible part alike," — let us discuss these points for 
a little ; and iet us show that Celsus either does not disclose 
his Epicurean opinions, or, as might be said by one person, 
has exchanged them for better, or, as another might say, has 

^ The reading in the text of Spencer and of the Benedictine ed. is kxtu- 
"Ksicpdslauu, for -which Lommatzsch has adopted the conjecture of BohereUus, 


nothing in common save the name, with Celsus, the Epicurean. 
For he ought, in giving expression to such opinions, and in 
proposing to contradict not only us, but the by no means 
obscure sect of philosophers v^ho are the adherents of Zeno of 
Citium, to have proved that the bodies of animals are not the 
work of God, and that the great skill displayed in their con- 
struction did not proceed from the highest intelligence. And 
he ought also, with regard to the countless diversities of plants, 
which are regulated by an inherent, incomprehensible nature,^ 
and which have been created for the by no means despicable^ 
use of man in general, and of the animals which minister to 
man, whatever other reasons may be adduced for their exist- 
ence,^ not only to have stated his opinion, but also to have 
shown us that it was no perfect intelligence which impressed 
these qualities upon the matter of plants. And when he had 
once represented [various] divinities as the creators of all the 
bodies, the soul alone being the work of God, why did not 
he, who separated these great acts of creation, and apportioned 
them among a plurality of creators, next demonstrate by some 
convincing reason the existence of these diversities among divi- 
nities, some of which construct the bodies of men, and others 
— those, say, of beasts of burden, and others — those of wild ani- 
mals ? And he who saw that some divinities were the creators 
of dragons, and of asps, and of basilisks, and others of each 
plant and herb according to its species, ought to have explained 
the causes of these diversities. For probably, had he given 
himself carefully to the investigation of each particular point, 
he would either have observed that it was one God who was the 
creator of all, and who made each thing with a certain object 
and for a certain reason ; or if he had failed to observe this, he 
would have discovered the answer which he ought to return to 
those who assert that corruptibility is a thing indifferent in 
its nature ; and that there was no absurdity in^a world which 
consists of diverse materials, being formed by one architect, 
who constructed the different kinds of things so as to secure 
the good of the whole. Or, finally, he ought to have expressed 
no opinion at all on so important a doctrine, since he did not 

^ vpos xP'^'^'-^ 0^* svKocrx(pp6v^rou. ^ ottus crori u.KKo)g o'jtu'j. 

222 OniGEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book iv. 

intend to prove what he professed to demonstrate ; unless, in- 
deed, he who censures others for professing a simple faith, would 
have us to believe his mere assertions, although he gave out that 
he would not merely assert, but would prove his assertions. 

Chapter lv. 

But I maintain that, if he had had the patience (to use his own 
expression) to listen to the writings of Moses and the prophets, he 
would have had his attention arrested by the circumstance that 
the expression " God made" is applied to heaven and earth, 
and to what is called the firmament, and also to the lights and 
stars ; and after these, to the great fishes, and to every living 
thing among creeping animals which the waters brought forth 
after their kinds, and to every fowl of heaven after its kind ; 
and after these, to the wild beasts of the earth after their kind, 
and the beasts after their kind, and to every creeping thing upon 
the earth after its kind ; and last of all to man. The expres- 
sion " made," however, is not applied to other things ; but it is 
deemed sufficient to say regarding light, " And it was light;" 
and regarding the one gathering together of all the waters that 
are under the whole heaven, ^^ It was so." And in like manner 
also, with regard to what grew upon the earth, where it is said, 
" The earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after 
its kind and after its likeness, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit, 
whose seed is in itself, after its kind, upon the earth." He 
would have inquired, moreover, whether the recorded commands 
of God respecting the coming into existence of each part of the 
world were addressed to one thing or to several;-^ and he would 
not lightly have charged with being unintelligible, and as having 
no secret meaning, the accounts related in these books, either 
by Moses, or, as toe would say, by the Divine Spirit speaking in 
Moses, from whom also he derived the power of prophesying ; 
since he "knew both the present, and the future, and the 
past," in a higher degree than those priests who are alleged by 
the poets to have possessed a knowledge of these things. 

Chapter lvi. 
Moreover, since Celsus asserts that "the soul is the work 


of God, but that the nature of body is different ; and that in 
tliis respect there is no difference between the body of a bat, or 
of a worm, or of a frog, and that of a man, for the matter is 
the same, and their corruptible part alike," — we have to say in 
answer to this argument of his, that if, since the same matter 
underlies the body of a bat, or of a worm, or of a frog, or of a 
man, these bodies will differ in no respect from one another, it 
is evident then that these bodies also will differ in no respect 
from the sun, or the moon, or the stars, or the sky, or any other 
thing which is called by the Greeks a god, cognisable by the 
senses.^ For the same matter, underlying all bodies, is, pro- 
perly speaking, without qualities and without form, and derives 
its qualities from some [other] source, I know not whence, since 
Celsus will have it that nothing corruptible can be the work of 
God. Now the corruptible part of everything whatever, beintr 
produced from the same underlying matter, must necessarily 
be the same, by Celsus' own showing ; unless, indeed, finding 
himself here hard pressed, he should desert Plato, who makes 
the soul arise from a certain bowl,^ and take refuse with 
Aristotle and the Peripatetics, who maintain that the ether is 
immaterial ^^ and consists of a fifth nature, separate from the 
other four elements,* against which view both the Platonists and 
the Stoics have nobly protested. And we too, who are despised 
by Celsus, will contravene it, seeing we are required to explain 
and maintain the following statement of the prophet : *^ The 
heavens shall perish, but Thou remainest : and they all shall 
wax old as a garment ; and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them 
up, and they shall be changed : but Thou art the same."^ These 
remarks, however, are sufficient in reply to Celsus, when he 
asserts that " the soul is the work of God, but that the nature 
of body is different;" for from his argument it follows that 
there is no difference between the body of a bat, or of a worm, 
or of a frog, and that of a heavenly^ being. 

Chapter lvii. 
See, then, whether we ought to yield to one who, holding 
^ uia0Yirov 6iov. 2 Q^ Plato in Tiraxo. ^ oivKov. 

^ Cf. Ps. cii. 26, 27. e «/%/ot/. 


sucli opinions, calumniates the Christians, and thus abandon a 
doctrine which explains the difference existing among bodies 
as due to the different qualities, internal and external, which 
are implanted in them. For we, too, know that there are 
"bodies celestial, and bodies terrestrial;" and that "the glory 
of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial another ;" 
and that even the glory of the celestial bodies is not alike : for 
" one is the glory of the sun, and another the glory of the 
stars ;" and among the stars themselves, "one star differeth from 
another star in glory." ^ And therefore, as those who expect 
the resurrection of the dead, we assert that the qualities which 
are in bodies undergo change : since some bodies, which are sown 
in corruption, are raised in incorruption ; and others, sown in dis- 
honour, are raised in glory ; and others, again, sown in weakness, 
are raised in power ; and those which are sown natural bodies, 
are raised as spiritual.^ That the matter which underlies bodies 
is capable of receiving those qualities which the Creator pleases 
to bestow, is a point which all of us who accept the doctrine of 
providence firmly hold ; so that, if God so willed, one quality 
is at the present time implanted in this portion of matter, and 
afterwards another of a different and better kind. But since 
there are, from the beginning of the world, laws^ established 
for the purpose of regulating the changes of bodies, and which 
will continue while the world lasts, I do not know whether, 
when a new and different order of things has succeeded* after 
the destruction of the world, and what our Scriptures call the 
end^ [of the ages], it is not wonderful that at the present time 
a snake should be formed out of a dead man, growing, as the 
multitude affirm, out of the marrow of the back,^ and that a 
bee should spring from an ox, and a wasp from a horse, and a 
beetle from an ass, and, generally, worms from the most of 
bodies. Celsus, indeed, thinks that this can be shown to be 
the consequence of none of these bodies being the work of God, 

1 Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 41, etc. ^ cf. 1 Cor. xv. 44. ^ -^^^^ 

■* xotiuvis ^toihi^ctpiivn? chou kxI ccT^'holxg} etc. For ZiuOi^xyAuYi;, Boherellus 
would read Itxh^ofiit/n;. Cf. Origen, de Princip. iii. c. v. 

^ avvri'hiioc. 

^ Cf. Pliny, X. c. 66 : " Anguem ex medulla hominis spinse gigni accepi- 
mus a multis." Cf. also Ovid, MetamorpTios. xv. fab. iv. 


and tliat qualities (I know not whence it was so arranged that 
one should spring out of another) are not the work of a divine 
intelligence, producing the changes which occur in the qualities 
of matter. 

Chapteh lviii. 

But we have something more to say to Celsus, when he 
declares that ^' the soul is the work of God, and that the nature 
of body is different," and puts forward such an opinion not 
only without proof, but even without clearly defining his mean- 
ing ; for he did not make it evident whether he meant that 
every soul is the work of God, or only the rational soul. This, 
then, is what we have to say : If every soul is the work of God, 
it is manifest that those of the meanest irrational animals are 
God's work, so that the nature of all bodies is different from 
that of the soul. He appears, however, in what follows, where 
he says that " irrational animals are more beloved by God than 
we, and have a purer knowledge of divinity," to maintain that 
not only is the soul of man, but in a much greater degree 
that of irrational animals, the work of God ; for this follows 
from their being said to be more beloved by God than we. 
Now if the rational soul alone be the work of God, then, in the 
first place, he did not clearly indicate that such was his opinion ; 
and in the second place, this deduction follows from his indefi- 
nite language regarding the soul — viz. whether not every one, 
but only the rational, is the work of God — that neither is the 
nature of all bodies different [from the soul]. But if the nature 
of all bodies be not different, although the body of each animal 
correspond to its soul, it is evident that the body of that animal 
whose soul was the work of God, would differ from the body of 
that animal in which dwells a soul which was not the work of 
God. And so the assertion will be false, that there is no differ- 
ence between the body of a bat, or of a worm, or of a frog, 
and that of a man. 

Chapter lix. 

For it would, indeed, be absurd that certain stones and 
buildings should be regarded as more sacred or more profane 
than others, according as they were constructed for the honour 



of God, or for the reception of dishonourable and accursed 
persons;-^ while bodies should not differ from bodies, according 
as they are inhabited by rational or irrational beings, and 
according as these rational beings are the most virtuous or 
most worthless of mankind. Such a principle of distinction, 
indeed, has led some to deify the bodies of distinguished men,^ 
as having received a virtuous soul, and to reject and treat w^ith 
dishonour those of very wicked individuals. I do not maintain 
that such a principle has been always soundly exercised, but 
that it had its origin in a correct idea. Would a wise man, 
indeed, after the death of Anytus and Socrates, think of bury- 
ing the bodies of both with like honours? And would he 
raise the same mound or tomb to the memory of both ? These 
instances we have adduced because of the language of Celsus, 
that "none of these is the w^ork of God" (where the w^ords 
" of these" refer to the body of a man, or to the snakes which 
come out of the body ; and to that of an ox, or of the bees 
which come from the body of an ox ; and to that of a horse, 
or of an ass, and to the wasps which come from a horse, and 
the beetles which proceed from an ass) ; for which reason we 
have been obliged to return to the consideration of his state- 
ment, that ^^ the soul is the work of God, but that the nature 
of body is different." 

Chapter lx. 

He next proceeds to say, that ^' a common nature pervades 
all the previously mentioned bodies, and one which goes and 
returns the same amid recurring changes." ^ In answer to this, 
it is evident from what has been already said, that not only 
does a common nature pervade those bodies which have been 
previously enumerated, but the heavenly bodies as well. And 
if this is the case, it is clear also that, according to Celsus 
(although I do not know whether it is according to truth), it is 
one nature which goes and returns the same through all bodies 
amid recurring changes. It is evident also that this is the case 
in the opinion of those who hold that the world is to perish ; 
while those also who hold the opposite view will endeavour to 


show, without the assumption of a fifth substance/ that in their 
judgment too it is one nature " which goes and returns the 
same throufrh all bodies amid recurrinoj chano;es." And thus, 
even that which is perishable remains in order to undergo a 
change ; ^ for tlie matter which underlies [all things], while its 
properties perish, still abides, according to the opinion of those 
who hold it to be uncreated* If, however, it can be shown by 
any arguments not to be uncreated, but to have been created 
for certain purposes, it is clear that it will not have the same 
nature of permanency which it would possess on the hypothesis 
of being uncreated. But it is not our object at present, in 
answering the charges of Celsus, to discuss these questions of 
natural philosophy. 

Chapter lxi. 

He maintains, moreover, that " no product of matter is 
immortal." Now, in answer to this it may be said, that if no 
product of matter is immortal, then either the whole world is 
immortal, and thus not a product of matter, or it is not im- 
mortal. If, accordingly, the world is immortal (which is agree- 
able to the view of those who say that the soul alone is the 
work of God, and was produced from a certain bowl), let 
Celsus show that the world was not produced from a matter 
devoid of qualities, remembering his own assertion that "no 
product of matter is immortal." If, however, the world is not 
immortal (seeing it is a product of matter), but mortal, does it 
also perish, or does it not ? For if it perish, it will perish as 
being a work of God; and then, in the event of the luorld 
perishing, what will become of the soul, which is also a work 
of God? Let Celsus answer this! But if, perverting the 
notion of immortality, lie will assert that, although perishable, 
it is immortal, because it 'does not reallt/ perish ; that it is 
capable of dying, but does not actuatly die, — it is evident that, 
according to him, there will exist something which is at the 
same time mortal and immortal, by being capable of both con- 
ditions ; and that which does not die will be mortal, and that 
which is not immortal by nature will be termed in a peculiar 
sense immortal, because it does not die! According to what 

^ GUlAOi, ^ OVrCJ OS KXt TO (X.TTOTi'hV^USVOy si; {.(.STUfiohViV ZiX^SVSt. 


distinction, then, in the meaning of words, will he maintain 
that no product of matter is immortal? And thus you see 
that the ideas contained in his waitings, when closely examined 
and tested, are proved not to be sound and incontrovertible.^ 
And after making these assertions he adds : '' On this point 
these remarks are sufficient ; and if any one is capable of 
hearing and examining further, he will come to know [the 
truth]." Let us, then, who in his opinion are unintelligent 
individuals, see what will result from our being able to listen to 
him for a little, and so continue our investigation. 

Chapter lxii. 

After these matters, then, he thinks that he can make us 
acquainted in a few words with the questions regarding the 
nature of evil, which have been variously discussed in many 
important treatises, and which have received very opposite 
explanations. His words are : '' There neither were formerly, 
nor are there now, nor will there be again, more or fewer evils 
in the world [than have always been]. For the nature of all 
things is one and the same, and the generation of evils is 
always the same." He seems to have paraphrased these words 
from the discussions in the Thecetetus, where Plato makes 
Socrates say : ^' It is neither possible for evils to disappear from 
among men, nor for them to become established among the 
gods," and so on. But he appears to me not to have under- 
stood Plato correctly, although professing to include all truth "^ 
in this one treatise, and giving to his own book against us the 
title of A True Discourse. For the language in the limceus, 
where it is said, " When the gods purify the earth with water," 
shows that the earth, when purified with water, contains less 
evil than it did before its purification. And this assertion, that 
there at one time were fewer evils in the world, is one which 
we make, in harmony with the opinion of Plato, because of the 
language in the Tkecetetus^ where he says that " evils cannot 
disappear from among men." 

^ 6 rviu d'h'/iSilU.V ifCTZiprAOCy^ilclUUV. 


Chapter lxitt. 

I do not understand how Celsus, while admitting the existence 
of Providence, at least so far as appears from the language of tliis 
book, can say that there never existed [at any time] either more 
or fewer evlls^ but, as it were, a fixed number ; thus annihilat- 
ing the beautiful doctrine regarding the indefinite ^ nature of 
evil, and asserting that evil, even in its own nature,^ is infinite. 
Now it appears to follow from the position, that there never 
have been, nor are now, nor ever will be, more or fewer evils 
in the world ; that as, according to the view of those who hold 
the indestructibility of the world, the equipoise of the elements 
is maintained by a Providence (which does not permit one to 
gain the preponderance over the others, in order to prevent the 
destruction of the world), so a kind of Providence presides, aa 
it were, over evils (the number of which is fixed) ,^ to prevent 
their being either increased or diminished ! In other ways, 
too, are the arguments of Celsus concerning evil confuted, by 
those philosophers who have investigated the subjects of good 
and evil, and who have proved also from history that in former 
times it was without the city, and with their faces concealed by 
masks, that loose women hired themselves to those who wanted 
them ; that subsequently, becoming more impudent, they laid 
aside their masks, though not being permitted by the laws to 
enter the cities, they [still] remained without them, until, as 
the dissoluteness of manners daily increased, they dared [finally] 
even to enter the cities. Such accounts are given hy Chryslppus 
in the introduction to his work on Good and Evil. From this 
also it may be seen that evils both increase and decrease, viz. 
that those individuals who were called ^' Ambiguous " ^ used 
formerly to present themselves openly to view, suffering and 
committing all shameful things, while subserving the passions 
of those who frequented their society ; but recently they have 
been expelled [from the city] by the authorities.^ And of 
countless evils which, owing to the spread of wickedness, have 
made their appearance in human life, we may say that formerly 
they did not exist. For the most ancient histories, which bring 


innumerable other accusations against sinful men, know nothing 
of the perpetrators of abominable ^ crimes. 

Chapter lxiv. 

And now, after these arguments, and others of a similar kind, 
how can Celsus escape appearing in a ridiculous light, when he 
imagines that there never has been in the past, nor will be in 
the future, a greater or less number of evils? For although 
the nature of all things is one and the same, it does not at all 
follow that the production of evils is a constant quantity.^ 
For although the nature of a certain individual is one and the 
same, yet his mind, and his reason, and his actions, are not 
always alike :^ there being a time when he had not yet attained 
to reason ; and another, when, with the possession of reason, he 
had become stained with wickedness, and when this increased 
to a greater or less degree ; and again, a time when he devoted 
himself to virtue, and made greater or less progress therein, 
attaining sometimes the very summit of perfection, through 
longer or shorter periods of contemplation.* In like manner, we 
may make the same assertion in a higher degree of the nature 
of the universe,^ that although it is one and the same in kind, 
yet neither do exactly the same things, nor yet things that are 
similar, occur in it ; for we neither have invariably productive 
nor unproductive seasons, nor yet periods of continuous rain or 
of drought. And so in the same wav, with reojard to virtuous 
souls, there are neither appointed periods of fertility nor of 
barrenness ; and the same is the case with the greater or less 
spread of evil. And those who desire to investigate all things 
to the best of their ability, must keep in view this estimate of 
evils, that their amount is not always the same, owing to the 
working of a Providence which either preserves earthly things, 
or purges them by means of floods and conflagrations ; and 
effects this, perhaps, not merely with reference to things on 
earth, but also to the whole universe of things ^ which stands in 

•'■ uppYjTOTroiov; ova laaat. 

2 cv 'TTuvrag kocI ij ruv kukuv yivsoig clsi v] ocvtv). 

^ ovx, ccsl Tx diiTO. iari 'Trspl ro TiyspcoutKOV ai/rov, kccI 7C'j "hiyo'j ccvtcv^ kui 
roc; 'Trpu'^ii;. 

* dicopfoci;. ^ rau oTiUu. ^ to, Iv oAw rw Koapcu. 


need of purification, when the wickedness that is in it has 
become great. 

Chapter lxv. 

After this Celsus continues : '^ It is not easy, indeed, for one 
who is not a philosopher to ascertain the origin of evils, though 
it is sufficient for the multitude to say that they do not proceed 
from God, but cleave to matter, and have their abode among 
mortal things ; while the course ^ of mortal things being the 
same from beginning to end, the same things must always, 
agreeably to the appointed cycles,^ recur in the past, present, 
and future." Celsus here observes that it is «ot easy for one 
who is not a philosopher to ascertain the origin of evils, as if 
it were an easy matter for a philosopher to gain this knowledge, 
while for one who is not a philosopher it was difficult, though still 
possible, for such an one, although with great labour, to attain 
it. Now, to this we say, that the origin of evils is a subject 
which is not easy even for a philosopher to master, and that 
perhaps it is impossible even for such to attain a clear under- 
standing of it, unless it be revealed to them by divine inspira- 
tion, both w^hat evils are, and how they originated, and how 
they shall be made to disappear. But although ignorance of 
God is an. evil, and one of the greatest of these is not to know 
how God is to be served and worshipped, yet, as even Celsus 
would admit, there are undoubtedly some philosophers who 
have been itrnorant of this, as is evident from the views of the 
different philosophical sects ; whereas^ according to our judg- 
ment, no one is capable of ascertaining the origin of evils who 
does not know that it is wicked to suppose that piety is preserved 
uninjured amid the laws that are established in diiferent states, 
in conformity with the generally prevailing ideas of government,^ 
No one, moreover, who has not heard what is related of him 
who is called " devil," and of his " angels," and what he was 
before he became a devil, and hoiu he became such, and what 
was the cause of the simultaneous apostasy of those who are 
termed his angels, will be able to ascertain the origin of evils. 

^ 'TTsptolog. 2 ;(^cicrdi roig r&ruyf^svxs difocy.vK7^vi<j£ig. 

^ fiyj lyuCiiKcog kcckov slvxt ro vofii^nu svaifistotv aL^iadui h rots KX&sarriKoat 
xctrcc rocs Korjorspou voovf4,succs TroTitrsicci yof^oig. 


But he ^vho would attain to this knowledge must learn more 
accurately the nature of demons, and know that they are not 
the work of God so far as respects their demoniacal nature, but 
only in so far as they are possessed of reason ; and also what 
their origin was, so that they became beings of such a nature, 
that while converted into demons, the powers of their mind^ 
remain. And if there be any topic of human investigation 
which is difficult for our nature to grasp, certainly the origin of 
evils may be considered to be such. 

Chapter lxvi. 

Celsus in the next place, as if he were able to tell certain 
secrets regarding the origin of evils, but chose rather to keep 
silence, and say only what was suitable to the multitude, con- 
tinues as follows : " It is sufficient to say to the multitude 
regarding the origin of evils, that they do not proceed from 
God, but cleave to matter, and dwell among mortal things." 
It is true, certainly, that evils do not proceed from God ; for 
according to Jeremiah, one of our prophets, it is certain that 
" out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil 
and good." ^ But to maintain that matter, dwelling among 
mortal things, is the cause of evils, is in our opinion not true. 
For it is the mind of each individual which is the cause of the 
evil which arises in him, and this is evil in the abstract;^ while 
the actions which proceed from it are wicked, and there is, to 
speak with accuracy, nothing else in our view that is evil. I 
am aware, however, that this J:opic requires very elaborate treat- 
ment, which (by the grace of God enlightening the mind) 
may be successfully attempted by him who is deemed by God 
worthy to attain the necessary knowledge on this subject. 

Chapter lxvii. 

I do not understand how Celsus should deem it of advantage, 
in writing a treatise against us, to adopt an opinion which 
requires at least much plausible reasoning to make it appear, 
as far as he can do so, that " the course of mortal things is the 
same from beginning to end, and that the same things must 
always, according to the appointed cycles, recur in the past, 

^ TO ijyi^QUiKC'j. ^ Cf. Lam. iii. S8. 


present, and future." Now, if this be true, our free-will is 
annihilated.^ For if, in the revolution of mortal things, the 
same events must perpetually occur in the past, present, and 
future, according to the appointed cycles, it is clear that, of 
necessity, Socrates will always be a philosopher, and be con- 
demned for introducing strange gods and for corrupting the 
youth. And Anytus and Melitus must always be his accusers, 
and the council of the Areopagus must ever condemn him to 
death by hemlock. And in the same way, according to the 
appointed cycles, Phalaris must always play the tyrant, and 
Alexander of Pherse commit the same acts of cruelty, and 
those condemned to the [torture of the brazen] bull of Phalaris 
continually pour forth their wailings from it. But if these 
things be granted, I do not see how our free-will can be pre- 
served, or how praise or blame can be administered with pro- 
priety. We may say further to Celsus, in answer to such a 
view, that " if the course of mortal things be always the same 
from beginning to end, and if, according to the appointed 
cycles, the same events must always occur in the past, present, 
and future," then, according to the appointed cycles, Moses 
must again come forth from Egypt with the Jewish people, 
and Jesus again come to dwell in human life, and perform the 
same actions which, [according to this view], he has done not 
once, but countless times, as the periods have revolved. Nay, 
Christians too will be the same in the appointed cycles ; and 
Celsus will again write this treatise of his, which, he has done 
innumerable times before ! 

Chapter lxviii. 

Celsus, however, says that it is only " the course of mortal 
things which, according to the appointed cycles, must always 
be the same in the past, present, and future;" whereas the 
majority of the Stoics maintain that this is the case not only 
with the course of mortal, but also with that of immortal things, 
and of those whom they regard as gods. For after the con- 
flagration of the world,^ which has taken place countless times 
in the past, and will happen countless times in the future, there 
has been, and will be, the same arrangement of all things from 

1 TO l(p' vi^uTiv ocur.pYiTcti. ^ rov Trcorog. 


the beginning to the end. The Stoics, indeed, in endeavouring 
to parry, I don't know how, the objections raised to their views, 
allege that as cycle after cycle returns, all men will be alto- 
gether unchanged-"- from tliose who lived in former cycles; so that 
Socrates will not live again, but one altogether like to Socrates, 
who will marry a wife exactly like Xanthippe, and will be ac- 
cused by men exactly like Anytus and Melitus. I do not under- 
stand, however, how* the world is to be always the same, and one 
individual not different from another, and yet the things in it 
not the same, though exactly alike. But the main argument in 
answer to the statements of Celsus and of the Stoics will be 
more appropriately investigated elsewhere, since on the present 
occasion it is not consistent with the purpose we have in view 
to expatiate on these points. 

Chapter lxix. 

He continues to say, that " neither have visible things ^ been 
given to man [by God], but each individual thing comes into 
existence and perishes for the sake of the safety of the whole, 
passing agreeably to the change, which I have already men- 
tioned, from one thing to another." It is unnecessary, however, 
to linger over the refutation of these statements, which have 
been already refuted to the best of my ability. And the fol- 
lowing, too, has been answered, viz. that " there will neither be 
more nor less good and evil among mortals." This point also 
has been referred to, viz. that " God does not need to amend 
His work afresh." ^ But it is not as a man who has imperfectly 
designed some piece of workmanship, and executed it unskil- 
fully, that God administers correction to the world, in purifying 
it by a flood or by a conflagration, but in order to prevent the 
tide of evil from rising to a greater height ; and, moreover, I am 
of opinion that it is at periods which are precisely determined 
beforehand that He sweeps wickedness away, so as to contribute 
to the good of the whole world.* If, however, he should assert 
that, after the disappearance of evil, it again comes into exist- 
ence, such questions will have to be examined in a special 
treatise. It is, then, always in order to repair what has become 

■'■ dTupciKhuKrov^. ^ roc opojf^sua. ^ ovrs rco ©sw KUivonpocg Oil dtopffuascjg. 
^ on Kccl 'Kocvrm nrxy/iciuag ocvivju cKpxyi^oJU av/^(psp6vrag rw 'Trcc'jtL 


faulty-^ that God desires to amend His work afresh. For 
although, in the creation of the world, all things had been 
arranged by Him in the most beautiful and stable manner, He 
nevertheless needed to exercise some healing power upon those 
who were labouring under the disease of wickedness, and upon 
a whole world, which was polluted as it were thereby. But 
nothing has been neglected by God, or will be neglected by 
Him ; for He does at each particular juncture what it becomes 
Plim to do in a perverted and changed world. And as a hus- 
bandman performs different acts of husbandry upon the soil 
and its productions, according to the varying seasons of the 
year, so God administers entire ages of time, as if they were, 
so to speak, so many individual years, performing during each 
one of them what is requisite with a reasonable regard to the 
care of the world; and tliis, as it is truly understood by God 
alone, so also is it accomplished by Him. 

Chapter lxx. 

Celsus has made a statement regarding evils of the following 
nature, viz., that " although a thing may seem to you to be evil, 
it is by no means certain that it is so ; for you do not know what 
is of advantage to yourself, or to another, or to the whole world." 
Now this assertion is made with a certain degree of caution ; ^ 
and it hints that the nature of evil is not wholly wicked, because 
that which may be considered so in individual cases, may con- 
tain something which is of advantage to the whole community. 
However, lest any one should mistake my words, and find a 
pretence of wrongdoing, as if his wickedness were profitable to 
the world, or at least might be so, we have to say, that although 
God, who preserves the free-will of each individual, may make 
use of the evil of the wicked for the administration of the 
world, so disposing them as to conduce to the benefit of the 
whole ; yet, notwithstanding, such an individual is deserving of 
censure, and as such has been appointed for a use, which is a 
subject of loathing to each separate individual, although of 
advantage to the whole community.^ It is as if one were to say 

® Kxl ag \p£KT6; zocruTiraKTUi dg •j(,piicx,'j d'TTSVicraiotu fcsu sxccartpf xp^iat' 

f4iO'J Is ru "XCtUTl. 



that in the case of a city, a man who had committed certain 
crimes, and on account of these had been condemned to serve in 
public works that were useful to the community, did something 
that was of advantage to the entire city, while he himself was 
engaged in an abominable task,-"- in which no one possessed of 
moderate understanding would wish to be engaged. Paul also, 
the apostle of Jesus, teaches us that even the very wicked will 
contribute to the good of the whole, while in themselves they 
will be amongst the vile, but that the most virtuous men, too, will 
be of the greatest advantage to the world, and will therefore on 
that account occupy the noblest position. His words are : " But 
in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, 
but also of wood and of earth ; and some to honour, and some 
to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself, he shall be a 
vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, pre- 
pared unto every good work." ^ These remarks I have thought it 
necessary to make in reply to the assertion, that " although a 
thing may seem to you to be evil, it is by no means certain that 
it is so, for you do not know what is of advantage either to 
yourself or to another," in order that no one may take occasion 
from what has been said on the subject to commit sin, on the 
pretext that he will thus be useful to the world. 

Chapter lxxi. 

But as, in whf^ follows, Celsus, not understanding that the 
language of Scripture regarding God is adapted to an anthro- 
popathic point of view, ridicules those passages which speak of 
words of anger addressed to the ungodly, and of threatenings 
directed against sinners, we have to say that, as we ourselves, 
when talking with very young children, do not aim at exerting 
our own power of eloquence,^ but, adapting ourselves to the 
weakness of our charge, both say and do those things which 
may appear to us useful for the correction and improvement 
of the children as children, so the word of God appears to have 
dealt with the history, making the capacity of the hearers, and 
the benefit which they were to receive, the standard of the 
appropriateness of its announcements [regarding Him]. And, 
^ eu dTrevKTxic,} T,pu,y^a.ri. - Cf. 1 Tim. ii. 20, 21. 

Book iv.] OmGEN AGAINST CELSUS. 237 

generally, with regard to such a style of speaking about God, 
we find in the book of Deuteronomy the following: "The 
Lord thy God bare with your manners, as a man would bear 
with the manners of his son." ^ It is, as it were, assuming the 
manners of a man in order to secure the advantage of men that 
the Scripture makes use of such expressions ; for it would not 
have been suitable to the condition of the multitude, that what 
God had to say to them should be spoken by Him in a manner 
more befitting the majesty of liis own person. And yet he 
who is anxious to attain a true understanding of Holy Scripture, 
will discover the spiritual truths which are spoken by it to those 
who are called " spiritual," by comparing the meaning of what 
is addressed to those of weaker mind with what is announced 
to such as are of acuter understanding, both meanings being 
frequently found in the same passage by him who is capable 
of comprehending it. 

Chapter lxxii. 

We speak, indeed, of the "w^rath" of God. We do not, 
however, assert that it indicates any "passion" on His part, 
but that it is something which is assumed in order to discipline 
by stern means those sinners who have committed many and 
grievous sins. For that which is called God's "wrath," and 
" anger," is a means of discipline; and that such a view is agree- 
able to Scripture, is evident from what is said in the sixth Psalm, 
" O Lord, rebuke me not in Thine anger, neither chasten me in 
Thy hot displeasure;"^ and also in Jeremiah, " O Lord, correct 
me, but with judgment : not in Thine anger, lest Thou bring 
me to nothing." ^ Anj one, moreover, who reads in the second 
book of Kings of the "wrath" of God, inducing David to 
number the people, and finds from the first book of Chronicles 
that it was the devil who suggested this measure, wall, on* com- 
paring together the two statements, easily see for what purpose 
the " wrath " is mentioned, of which " wrath," as the Apostle 
Paul declares, all men are children : ^' We were by nature 

^ Cf. Deut. i. 31. Origen appears to have read, not IrpoCpopyiffsy^ the com- 
mon reading (Heb. 5<b:), but hpoTroCpopyiaeu, the reading of the Codex 

2 Cf. Ps. vi. 1. 8 Cf. Jer. x. 24. 


diildren of wrath, even as otliers." ^ Moreover, that " wrath " 
is no passion on the part of God, but that each one brings it 
upon himself by his sins, will be clear from the further state- 
ment of Paul : " Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness, 
and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the 
goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ? But after thy 
hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath 
against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judg- 
ment of God." How, then, can any one treasure up for himself 
*' wrath" against a "day of wrath," if "wrath" be understood in 
the sense of "passion?" or how can the "passion of wrath" be 
a help to discipline ? Besides, the Scripture, which tells us not 
to be angry at all, and which says in the thirty-seventh Psalm, 
"Cease from anger, and forsake wrath," ^ and which commands 
us by the mouth of Paul to "put off all these, anger, wrath, 
malice, blasphemy, filthy communication," ^ would not involve 
God in the same passion from which it would have us to be 
altogether free. It is manifest, further, that the language used 
regarding the wrath of God is to be understood /z^iira/u-e/y from 
what is related of His " sleep," from which, as if awaking Him, 
the prophet says : " Awake, why sleepest Thou, Lord ? " * and 
again : " Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a 
mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine." ^ If, then, ^^ sleep" 
must mean something else, and not what the first acceptation of 
the word conveys, why should not "wrath" also be understood 
in a similar way? The " threatenings," again, are intimations 
of the [punishments] which are to befall the wicked : for it is 
as if one were to call the words of a physician " threats," 
when he tells his patients, " I will have to use the knife, and 
apply cauteries, if you do not obey my prescriptions, and 
regulate your diet and mode of life in such a way as I direct 
you." It is no human passions, then, which we ascribe to God, 
nor impious opinions which we entertain of Him ; nor 'do we 
err when we present the various narratives concerning Him, 
drawn from the Scriptures themselves, after careful comparison 
one with another. For those who are wise ambassadors of the 
" word " have no other object in view than to free as far as 

.1 Cf. Epli. ii. 3. 2 cf. Ps. xxxvii. 8. ^ cf. Col. iii. 8. 

4 Ps. xliv. 23. « Cf. Ps. Ixxviii. 65. 


they can their hearers from weak opinions, and to endue them 

with intelligence. 

Chapter lxxiii. 

And as a sequel to his non-understanding of the statements 
regarding the "wrath" of God, he continues: "Is it not 
ridiculous to suppose that, whereas a man, who became angry 
with the Jews, slew them all from the youth upwards, and 
burned their city (so powerless were they to resist him), the 
mighty God, as they say, being angry, and indignant, and 
uttering threats, should, [instead of punishing them,] send His 
own Son, who endured the sufferings which He did?" If the 
Jews, then, after the treatment which they dared to inflict upon 
Jesus, perished with all their youth, and had their city consumed 
by fire, they suffered this punishment in consequence of no 
other wrath than that which they treasured up for themselves ; 
for the judgment of God against them, which was determined 
by the divine appointment, is termed " wrath" agreeably to a 
traditional usage of the Hebrews. And what the Son of the 
mighty God suffered, He suffered voluntarily for the salvation 
of men, as has been stated to the best of my ability in the pre- 
ceding pages. He then continues : " But that I may speak 
not of the Jews alone (for that is not my object), but of the 
whole of nature, as I promised, I will bring out more clearly 
what has been already stated." Now what modest man, on 
reading these words, and knowing the weakness of humanity, 
would not be indignant at the offensive nature of the promise 
to give an account of the " whole of nature," and at an arro- 
gance like that which prompted him to inscribe upon his book 
the title which he ventured to give it [of a True Discourse] ? 
But let us see what he has to say regarding the "whole of 
nature," and what he is to place " in a clearer light," 

Chapter lxxiv. 

He next, in many words, blames us for asserting that God 

made all things for the sake of man. Because from the history 

of animals, and from the sagacity manifested by them, he would 

show that all things came into existence not more for the sake 

I of man than of the irrational animals. And here he seems to 


me to speak in a similar manner to those who, through dislike of 
their enemies, accuse them of the same things for which their 
own friends are commended. For as, in the instance referred 
to, hatred blinds these persons from seeing that they are accusing 
their very dearest friends by the means through which they 
think they are slandering their enemies ; so in the same way, 
Celsus also, becoming confused in his argument, does not see 
that he is bringing a charge against the philosophers of the 
Porch, who, not amiss, place man in the foremost rank, and 
rational nature in general before irrational animals, and who 
maintain that Providence created all things mainly on account 
of rational nature. Rational beings, then, as being the principal 
ones, occupy the place, as it were, of children in the womb, 
while irrational and soulless beings hold that of the envelope 
which is created along with the child.^ I think, too, that as in 
cities the superintendents of the goods and market discharge 
their duties for the sake of no other than human beings, while 
dogs and other irrational animals have the benefit of the super- 
abundance ; so Providence provides in a special manner for 
rational creatures ; while this also follows, that irrational 
creatures likewise enjoy the benefit of what is done for the 
sake of man. And as he is in error who alleges that the super- 
intendents of the markets ^ make provision in no greater degree 
for men than for dogs, because dogs also get their share of the 
goods ; so in a far greater degree are Celsus and they who 
think with him guilty of impiety towards the God who makes 
provision for rational beings, in asserting that His arrangements 
are made in no greater degree for the sustenance of human 
beings than for that of plants, and trees, and herbs, and 

Chapter lxxv. 

For, in the first place, he is of opinion that ^' thunders, and 
liohtninfijs, and rains are not the works of God," — thus showini:j 
more clearly at last his Epicurean leanings ; and in the second 
place, that " even if one were to grant that these were the 

^ Kxl 'Aoycu yA'j ^x^i roi Ts-oyiKx, cl'Trsp iarl 'KpoTnyo^f^-ivci^ 'zrufbau ysufuyAuuu' 
76C V uKaycx, kocI roc, cii]/v)(,ic ^apiov cvypcTt^oixivov ra 'Trotilia. 


works of God, they are brought into existence not more for 
the support of us who are human beings, than for that of 
plants, and trees, and herbs, and thorns," — maintaining, Hke a 
true Epicurean, that these things are the product of chance, 
and not the work of Providence. For if these things are of 
no more use to us than to plants, and trees, and herbs, and 
thorns, it is evident either that they do not proceed from Provi- 
dence at all, or from a providence which does not provide for us 
in a greater degree than for trees, and herbs, and thorns. Now, 
either of these suppositions is impious in itself, and it would be 
foolish to refute such statements by answering any one who 
brought against us the charge of impiety ; for it is manifest to 
every one, from what has been said, who is the person guilty of 
impiety. In the next place, he adds : ^' Although you may say 
that these things, viz. plants, and trees, and herbs, and thorns, 
grow for the use of men, why will you maintain that they grow 
for the use of men rather than for that of the most savage of 
irrational animals?'* Let Celsus then say distinctly that the 
great diversity among the products of the earth is not the work 
of Providence, but that a certain fortuitous concurrence of 
atoms ^ gave birth to qualities so diverse, and that it was owing 
to chance that so many kinds of plants, and trees, and herbs re-, 
semble one another, and that no disposing reason gave existence 
to them,^ and that they do not derive their origin from an under- 
standing that is beyond all admiration. We Christians, however, 
who are devoted to the worship of the only God, who created 
these things, feel grateful for them to Him who made them, be- 
6ause not only for us, but also (on our account) for the animals 
which are subject to us, He has prepared such a home,^ seeing 
** He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the 
service of man, that He may bring forth food out of the earth, 
and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make 
his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart."* 
But that He should have provided food even for the most 
savage animals is not matter of surprise, for these very animals 
are said by some who have philosophized [upon the subject] to 
have been created for the purpose of affording exercise to the 

3 iarUv. * Cf. Fs. civ. 14, 15. 


242 OmGEN AGAINST GELS US. [Book iv. 

rational creature. And one of our own wise men says some- 
where : " Do not say, What is this ? or Wherefore is that ? for 
all things liave been made for their uses. And do not say, 
What is this ? or Wherefore is that ? for everything shall be 
sought out in its season." ^ 

Chapter lxxvi. 

After this, Celsus, desirous of maintaining that Providence 
created the products of the earth, not more on our account 
than on that of the most savage animals, thus proceeds : " We 
indeed by labour and suffering earn a scanty and toilsome 
subsistence,^ while all things are produced for them without 
their sowing and ploughing." He does not observe that God, 
wishing to exercise the human understanding in all countries 
(that it might not remain idle and unacquainted with the arts), 
created man a being full of wants,^ in order that by virtue 
of his very needy condition he might be compelled to be the 
inventor of arts, some of which minister to his subsistence, and 
others to his protection. For it was better that those who 
would not have sought out divine things, nor engaged in the 
study of .philosophy, should be placed in a condition of want, 
in order that they might employ their understanding in the 
invention of the arts, than that they should altogether neglect 
the cultivation of their minds, because their condition was one 
of abundance. The want of the necessaries of human life led to 
the invention on the one hand of the art of husbandry, on the 
other to that of the cultivation of the vine ; again, to the art of 
gardening, and the arts of carpentry and smith work, by means 
of which were formed the tools required for the arts which mini- • 
ster to the support of life. The want of covering, again, intro- 
duced the art of weavino^, which followed that of wool-cardincp 
and spinning ; and again, that of house-building : and thus the 
intelligence of men ascended even to the art of architecture. The 
want of necessaries caused the products also of other places to be 
conveyed, by means of the arts of sailing and pilotage,^ to those 
who were without them ; so that even on that account one 
might admire the Providence which made the rational being 

^ Cf. Ecclus. xxxix. 21, and 16, 17. ^ jw&'x/? xxl iTiTroua;. 


subject to \vant in a far higher degree than the irrational 
animals, and yet all with a view to his advantage. For the 
irrational animals have their food provided for them, because 
•there is not in them even an impulse^ towards the invention 
of the arts. They have, besides, a natural covering ; for they 
are provided either wath hair, or wings, or scales, or shells. 
Let the above, then, be our answer to the assertions of Celsus, 
when he says that " we indeed by labour and suffering earn a 
scanty and toilsome subsistence, while all things are produced 
for them without their sowing and ploughing." 

Chapter lxxvii. 

In the next place, forgetting that his object is to accuse both 
Jews and Christians, he quotes against himself an iambic verse 
of Euripides, which is opposed to his view, and joining issue 
with the words, charges them with being an erroneous state- 
ment. His words are as follow: "But if you wuU quote the 
saying of Euripides, that 

' The Sun and Night are to mortals slaves,' ^ 
why should they be so in a greater degree to us than to 
ants and flies ? For the night is created for them in order 
that they may rest, and the day that they may see and re- 
sume their work." Now it is undoubted, that not only have 
certain of the Jews and Christians declared that the sun and 
the heavenly bodies ^ are our servants ; but he also has said this, 
who, according to some, is the philosopher of the stage,* and 
who was a hearer of the lectures on the philosophy of nature 
delivered by Anaxagoras. But this man asserts that all 
things in the world are subject to all rational beings, — one 
rational nature being taken to represent all, on the principle of 
a part standing for the whole ;^ which, again, clearly appears 
from the verse : 

" The Sun and Night are to mortals slaves." 
Perhaps the tragic poet meant the day when he said the sun, 

^ oKpopf^'h- ^ Cf. Eurlp. Phceniss. v. 512. ^ rcc lu ovpxuu. 

* Kctra, rivx; "Skt^vikos (ptK6ao(pog. Euripides himself is the person alluded 
to. He is called by Athenajus and Clemens Alexandrinus (^Strom. v.), osttI 
rtig <jx,/]vvig (pt^oao^po;. — De LA RUE. 


inasmuch as it is the cause of the day, — teaching that those 
things which most need the day and night are the things which 
are tinder the moon, and other things in a less degree than 
those which are upon the earth. Day and night, then, are 
subject to mortals, being created for the sake of rational beings. 
And if ants and flies, which labour by day and rest by night, 
have, besides, the benefit of those things which were created 
for the sake of men, we must not say that day and night were 
brought into being for the sake of ants and flies, nor' must 
we suppose that they were created for the sake of nothing, but, 
agreeably to the design of Providence, were formed for the 
sake of man. 

Chapter lxxviii. J 

He next proceeds further to object against himself^ what is 
said on behalf of man, viz. that the irrational animals were 
created on his account, saying : ^^ If one were to call us the 
lords of the animal creation because we hunt the other animals 
and live upon their flesh, we would say, Why were not ice 
rather created on their account, since they hunt and devour us? 
Nay, ice require nets and weapons, and the assistance of many 
persons, along with dogs, when engaged in the chase ; while 
they are immediately and spontaneously provided by nature with 
weapons which easily bring us under their power." And here 
we may observe, that the gift of understanding has been be- 
stowed upon us as a mighty aid, far superior to any weapon 
which wild beasts may seem to possess. We, indeed, who are 
far weaker in bodily strength than the beasts, and shorter in 
stature than some of them, yet by means of our understanding 
obtain the mastery, and capture the huge elephants. We 
subdue by our gentle treatment those animals whose nature it 
is to be tamed, while with those whose nature is different, or 
which do not appear likely to be of use to us when tamed, 
we take such precautionary measures, that w^hen we desire it, 
we keep such wild beasts shut up ; and when we need the flesh 
of their bodies for food, we slaughter them, as we do those 
beasts which are not of a savage nature. The Creator, then, 
has constituted all things the servants of the rational being 


and of his natural understanding. For some purposes we 
require dogs, say as guardians of our sheep-folds, or of our 
cattle-yards, or goat-pastures, or of our dwelHngs ; and for 
other purposes we need oxen, as for agriculture ; and for others, 
again, we make use of those which bear the yoke, or beasts of 
burden. And so it may be said that the race of lions, and 
bears, and leopards, and wild boars, and such like, has been 
given to us in order to call into exercise the elements of the 
manly character that exists within us. 

Chapter lxxix. 

In the next place, in answer to the human race, who per- 
ceive their own superiority, which far exceeds that of the irra- 
tional animals, he says : " With respect to your assertion, that 
God gave you the power to capture wild beasts, and to make 
your own use of them, we would say that, in all probability, 
before cities were built, and arts invented, and societies such 
as now exist were formed, and weapons and nets employed, 
men were generally caught and devoured by wild beasts, while 
wild beasts were very seldom captured by men." Now, in 
reference to this, observe that although men catch wild beasts, 
and wild beasts make prey of men, there is a great difference 
between the case of such as by means of their understanding 
obtain the mastery over those whose superiority consists in their 
savage and cruel nature, and that of those who do not make 
use of their understanding to secure their safety from injury 
by wild beasts. But when Celsus says, ^^ before cities were 
built, and arts invented, and societies such as now exist were 
formed," he appears to have forgotten what he had before said, 
that "the world was uncreated and incorruptible, and that it 
was only the things on earth which underwent deluges and con- 
flagrations, and that all these things did not happen at the same 
time." Now let it be granted that these admissions on his 
part are entirely in harmony with our views, though not at all 
with him and his statements made above ; yet what does it all 
avail to prove that in the beginning men were mostly captured 
and devoured by wild beasts, while wild beasts were never 
caught by men ? For, since the world was created in con- 
formity with the will of Providence, and God presided over the 


universe of things, it was necessary that the elements^ of the 
human race should at the commencement of its existence be 
placed under some protection of the higher powers, so that 
there might be formed from the beginning a union of the 
divine nature with that of men. And the poet of Ascra, per- 
ceiving this, sings : 

" For common then were banquets, and common were seats, 
Alike to immortal gods and mortal men." ^ 

Chapteb lxxx. 

Those Holy Scriptures, moreover, which bear the name of 
Moses, introduce the first men as hearing divine voices and 
oracles, and beholding sometimes the angels of God coming 
to visit them. For it was probable that in the beginning 
of the world's existence human nature would be assisted to a 
greater degree [than afterwards], until progress had been made 
towards the attainment of understanding and the other virtues, 
and the invention of the arts, and they should thus be able to 
maintain life of themselves, and no longer stand in need of 
superintendents, and of those to guide them who do so with a 
miraculous manifestation of the means which subserve the will 
of God. Now it follows from this, that it is false that "in 
the beginning men were captured and devoured by wild beasts, 
while wild beasts were very seldom caught by men." And 
from this, too, it is evident that the following statement of 
Celsus is untrue, that " in this way God rather subjected men 
to wild beasts." For God did not subject men to wild beasts, 
but gave wild beasts to be a prey to the understanding of man, 
and to the arts, which are directed against them, and which are 
the product of the understanding. For it was not without the 
help of God^ that men desired for themselves the means of 
protection against wild beasts, and of securing the mastery over 

Chapter lxxxi. 

Our noble opponent, however, not observing how many 
philosophers there are who admit the existence of Providence, 

2 Cf. Hesiod, Fragmenta Incerta, ed. Goettling, p. 231. 


..lid who hold that Providence created all things for the sake 
of rational beings, overturns as far as he can those doctrines 
which are of use in showing the harmony that prevails in these 
matters between Christianity and philosophy ; nor does he see 
liow great is the injury done to religion from accepting the 
tatement that before God there is no difference between a 
man and an ant or a bee, but proceeds to add, that " if men 
appear to be superior to irrational animals on this account, that 
they have built cities, and make use of a political constitution, 
and forms of government, and sovereignties,^ this is to say 
nothing to the purpose, for ants and bees do the same. Bees, 
indeed, have a sovereign, who has followers and attendants ; and 
there occur among them wars and victories, and slaughterings 
of the vanquished,^ and cities and suburbs, and a succession of 
labours, and judgments passed upon the idle and the wicked ; 
for the drones are driven away and punished." Now here he 
did not observe the difference that exists between what is done 
after reason and consideration, and what is the result of an 
irrational nature, and is purely mechanical. For the origin of 
these things is not explained by the existence of any rational 
principle in those who make them, because they do not possess 
any such principle ; but the most ancient Being, who is also the 
Son of God, and the King of all things that exist, has created 
an irrational nature, which, as being irrational, acts as a help to 
those who are deemed worthy of reason. Cities, accordingly, 
were established among men, with many arts and well-arranged 
laws ; while constitutions, and governments, and sovereignties 
among men are either such as are properly so termed, and 
which exemplify certain virtuous tendencies and workings, or 
they are those which are improperly so called, and which were 
devised, so far as could be done, in imitation of the former : 
for it was by contemplating these that the most successful 
legislators established the best constitutions, and governments, 
and sovereignties. None of these things, however, can be 
found among irrational animals, although Celsus may transfer 

2 roiu rjTryi^usuav cclp'iaug. " Nota ocipsasig hoc loco sumi pro intemecioni- 
bus, credibus. Haud scio an alibi reperiatur pari significatu. Forte etiam 
scribendum Kxdociosaug.''^ — Ru^us. 


rational names, and arrangements which belong to rational 
beings, as cities and constitutions, and rulers and sovereignties, 
even to ants and bees ; in respect to which matters, however, ants 
and bees merit no approval, because they do not act from reflec- 
tion. But we ought to admire the divine nature, which extended 
even to irrational animals the capacity, as it were, of imitating 
rational beings, perhaps with a view of putting rational beings 
to shame ; so that by looking upon ants, for instance, they 
might become more industrious and more thrifty in the man- 
agement of their goods ; while, by considering the bees, they 
might place themselves in subjection to their Kuler, and take 
their respective parts in those constitutional duties which arc 
of use in ensuring the safety of cities. 

Chapter lxxxii. 

Perhaps also the so-called wars among the bees convey in- ; 
struction as to the manner in which wars, if ever there arise 
a necessity for them, should be waged in a just and orderly 
way among men. But the bees have no cities or suburbs; 
while their hives and hexagonal cells, and succession of labours, : 
are for the sake of men, who require honey for many purposes, 
both for cure of disordered bodies, and as a pure article of 
food. Nor ought we to compare the proceedings taken by the 
bees against the drones with the judgments and punishments 
inflicted on the idle and wicked in cities. But, as I formerly 
said, we ought on the one hand in these things to admire the 
divine nature, and on the other to express our admiration of 
man, who is capable of considering and admiring all things (as 
co-operating with Providence), and who executes not merely 
the works which are determined by the providence of God, but 
also those which are the consequences of his own foresight. 

Chapter lxxxiii. 

After Celsus has finished speaking of the bees, in order to 
depreciate (as far as he can) the cities, and constitutions, and 
governments, and sovereignties not only of us Christians, but 
of all mankind, as well as the wars which men undertake on 
behalf of their native countries, he proceeds, by way of digres- 
sioUj to pass a eulogy upon the ants, in order that, while 


praising them, he may compare the measures which men take 
to secure their subsistence with those adopted by these insects,^ 
and so evince his contempt for the forethought which makes 
provision for winter, as being nothing higher than the irrational 
providence of the ants, as he regards it. Now might not some 
of the more simple-minded, and such as know not how to look 
into the nature of all things, be turned away (so far, at least, as 
Celsus could accomplish it) from helping those who are weighed 
down with the burdens [of life], and from sharing their toils, 
when he says of the ants, that ^^ they help one another with 
their loads, when they see one of their number toiling under 
them V For he who needs to be disciplined by the word, but 
who does not at all understand^ its voice, will say ; " Since, 
then, there is no difference between us and the ants, even when 
we help those who are weary wdth bearing their heavy burdens, 
why should we continue to do so to no purpose?" And would 
not the ants, as being irrational creatures, be greatly puffed up, 
and think highly of themselves, because their works were com- 
pared to those of men ? while men, on the other hand, who 
by means of their reason are enabled to hear how their philan- 
thropy^ towards others is contemned, would be injured, so 
far as could be effected by Celsus and his arguments : for he 
does not perceive that, while he wishes to turn away from 
Christianity those who read his treatise, he turns away also the 
sympathy of those who are not Christians from those who bear 
the heaviest burdens [of life]. Whereas, had he been a philo- 
sopher, who was capable of perceiving the good which men may 
do each other, he ought, in addition to not removing along with 
Christianity the blessings which are found amongst men, to have 
lent his aid to co-operate (if he had it in his power) w^ith those 
principles of excellence which are common to Christianity and 
the rest of mankind. Moreover, even if the ants set apart in a 
place by themselves those grains which sprout forth, that they 
ihay not swell into bud, but may continue throughout the year 
as their food, this is not to be deemed as evidence of the exist- 
ence of reason among ants, but as the work of the universal 

^ 'TTccpulia.T^'^ r^ T^oyui -Trpog rovg f^vfif/,yix,ex,g. " Verba : ra T^oyM -zpog r&v; 
fivpfCYiKotg addititia viduntur et recidenda." — Ru^eus. 

^ iTTX'i'ai/. ^ TO KOl'JUVtKOV. 


mother, Nature, which adorned even irrational animals, so 
that even the most insIo;nificant is not omitted, but bears traces 
of the reason implanted in it by nature. Unless, indeed, by 
these assertions Celsus means obscurely to intimate (for in 
many instances he would like to adopt Platonic ideas) that all 
souls are of the same species, and that there is no difference 
between that of a man and those of ants and bees, which is the 
act of one who would bring down the soul from the vault of 
heaven, and cause it to enter not only a human body, but that 
of an animal. Christians, however, will not yield their assent 
to such opinions : for they have been instructed before now that 
the human soul was created in the image of God ; and they see 
that it is impossible for a nature fashioned in the divine image 
to have its [original] features altogether obliterated, and to 
assume others, formed after I know not what likeness of irra- 
tional animals. 

Chapter lxxxiv. 

And since he asserts that, " when ants die, the survivors set 
apart a special place [for their interment], and that their ancestral 
sepulchres such a place is," we have to answer, that the greater 
the laudations which he heaps upon irrational animals, so much 
the more does he magnify (although against his will) the work 
of that reason which arranged all things in order, and points 
out the skill-*- which exists among men, and which is capable 
of adorning by its reason even the gifts which are bestowed by 
nature on the irrational creation. But why do I say "irrational," 
since Celsus is of opinion that these animals, which, agreeably 
to the common ideas of all men, are termed irrational, are not 
really so ? Nor does lie regard the ants as devoid of reason, 
who professed to speak of ^' universal nature," and who boasted 
of his truthfulness in the inscription of his book. For, speak- 
ing of the ants conversing with one another, he uses the fol- 
lowing language: ^'And when they meet one another they 
enter into conversation, for which reason tliey never mistake 
their way; consequently they possess a full endowment of 
reason, and some common ideas on certain general subjects, and 
a voice by which they express themselves regarding accidental 

^ evTpi)csioiu. 



things."^ Now conversation between one man and another is 
carried on by means of a voice, which gives expression to the 
meaning intended, and which also gives utterances concerning 
what are called *' accidental things ;" but to say that this was 
the case with ants would be a most ridiculous assertion. 

Chapter lxxxv. 

He is not ashamed, moreover, to say, in addition to these 
statements (that the unseemly character^ of his opinions may 
be manifest to those who will live after him) : " Come now, if 
one were to look down from heaven upon earth, in what respect 
would our actions appear to differ from those of ants and 
bees?" Now does he who, according to his own supposition, 
looks from heaven upon the proceedings of men and ants, look 
upon their bodies alone, and not rather have regard to the con- 
trolling reason which is called into action by reflection ; ' 
while, on the other hand, the guiding principle of the latter is 
irrational, and set in motion irrationally by impulse and fancy, 
in conjunction with a certain natural apparatus?* But it 
is absurd to suppose that he who looks from heaven upon 
earthly things would desire to look from such a distance upon 
the hodies of men and ants, and would not rather consider the 
nature of the guiding principles, and the source of impulses, 
whether that be rational or irrational. And if he once look 
upon the source of all impulses, it is manifest that he would 
behold also the difference which exists, and the superiority of 
man, not only over ants, but even over elephants. For he who 
looks from heaven will see among irrational creatures, however 
large their bodies, no other principle ^ than, so to speak, irration- 
ality ;^ while amongst rational beings he will discover reason, the 
common possession of men, and of divine and heavenly beings, 
and perhaps of the supreme God Himself, on account of which 

^ ovKQvu Kscl T^oyov avfiTrX'/ipajis laTi 'ttcl^'' ccvroi^^ kcc\ KOiyocl ivuoix: x.u6o7\.i- 

' OV KOCTOCUOH 6i TO T^OyfKOU '/lyif^OUtKOU KOcl "hOyiayM KlVQVfCiUOU '^ 

* f^iroi rivog (pvaiKTig v-r^OKocrctaKSv/};. 

^ dpx'hv- 

^ TVIU a.'hoylccii. 


man Is said to have been created in the image of God, for the 
image of the Supreme God is his reason.^ 

Chapter lxxxvi. 

Immediately after this, as if doing his utmost to reduce the 
human race to a still lower position, and to bring them to the 
level of the irrational animals, and desiring to omit not a single 
circumstance related of the latter which manifests their great- 
ness, he declares that ^^in certain individuals among the irra- 
tional creation there exists the power of sorcery ; " so that even 
in this particular men cannot specially pride themselves, nor 
wish to arrogate a superiority over irrational creatures. And 
the following are his w^ords : " If, however, men entertain lofty 
notions because of their possessing the power of sorcery, yet 
even in that respect are serpents and eagles their superiors in 
wisdom; for they are acquainted with many prophylactics against 
persons and diseases, and also with the virtues of certain stones 
which help to preserve their young. If men, however, fall in 
with these, they think that they have gained a wonderful pos- 
session." Now^, in the first place, I know not why he should 
designate as sorcery the knowledge of natural prophylactics 
displayed by animals, — whether that knowledge be the result 
of experience, or of some natural power of apprehension ; ^ for 
the term ^'sorcery" has by usage been assigned to something 
else. Perhaps, indeed, he wishes quietly, as an Epicurean, to 
censure the entire use of such arts, as resting only on the 
professions of sorcerers. However, let it be granted him that 
men do pride themselves greatly upon the knowledge of such 
arts, whether they are sorcerers or not: how can serpents 
be in this respect wiser than men, when they make use of the 
well-known fenneP to sharpen their power of vision and to 
produce rapidity of movement, having obtained this natural 
power not from the exercise of reflection, but from the con- 
stitution of their body,^ while men do not, like serpents, 
arrive at such knowledge merely by nature, but partly by 
experiment, partly by reason, and sometimes by reflection and 
knowledge? So, if eagles, too, in order to preserve their young 

^ 'Aoyog. ^ (pvaiKTj'J Tiva, Kcc-caKiii'^iv. 


in the nest, carry thither the eagle-stone when they have dis- 
covered it, how does it appear that they are wise, and more 
intelligent than men, who find out by the exercise of their 
reflective powders and of their understanding what has been 
bestowed by nature upon eagles as a gift ? 

Chapter lxxxvii. 

Let it be granted, however, that there are other prophylac- 
tics against poisons known to animals : what does that avail to 
prove that it is not nature, but reason, which leads to the dis- 
covery of such things among them ? For if reason were the 
discoverer, this one thing (or, if you will, one or two more 
things) would not be (exclusive^ of all others) the sole discovery 
made by serpents, and some other thing the sole discovery of 
the eagle, and so on with the rest of the animals ; but as many 
discoveries would have been made amongst them as among 
men. But now it is manifest from the determinate inclina- 
tion of the nature of each animal towards certain kinds of 
help, that they possess neither wisdom nor reason, but a natural 
constitutional tendency implanted by the Logos ^ towards such 
things in order to ensure the preservation of the animal. And, 
indeed, if I wished to join issue with Celsus in these matters, I 
might quote the words of Solomon from the book of Proverbs, 
which run thus : " There be four things which are little upon 
the earth, but these are wiser than the wise : The ants are a 
people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer ; 
the conies ^ are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses 
in the rocks ; the locusts have no king, yet go they forth in 
order at one command ; and the spotted lizard,* though lean- 
ing upon its hands, and being easily captured, dwelleth in kings' 
fortresses." ^ I do not quote these words, however, as taking 
them in their literal signification, but, agreeably to the title of 
the book (for it is inscribed ^' Proverbs "), I investigate them 
as containing a secret meaning. For it is the custom of these 

^ (x.'TiroreTU'/fAhcig. 

^ VTZo Toy 'Koyav yeysvYifCiuvi. 

^ ^OipoypvT^T^lOi. Heb. D"'il3iJ^*. 

* ccdKX'KxIicJTyi;. 

« Cf. Prov. XXX. 24-28. 


writers [of Scripture] to distribute into many classes those writ- 
ings which express one sense when taken literally/ but which 
convey a different signification as their hidden meaning ; and 
one of these kinds of writing is *^ Proverbs." And for this 
reason, in our Gospels too, is our Saviour described as saying : 
*' These things have I spoken to you in proverbs, but the time 
cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs."^ 
It is not, then, the visible ants which are " wiser even than the 
wise," but they who are indicated as such under the "pro- 
verbial " style of expression. And such must be our conclusion 
regarding the rest of the animal creation, although Celsus 
regards the books of the Jews and Christians as exceedingly 
simple and commonplace,^ and imagines that those who give 
them an allegorical interpretation do violence to the meaning 
of the writers. By what we have said, then, let it appear 
that Celsus calumniates us in vain, and let his assertions that 
serpents and eagles are wiser than men also receive their 

Chapter lxxxviii. 

And wishing to show at greater length that even the thoughts 
of God entertained by the human race are not superior to those 
of all other mortal creatures, but that certain of the irrational 
animals are capable of thinking about Him regarding whom 
opinions so discordant have existed among the most acute of 
mankind — Greeks and Barbarians — he continues: "If, because 
man has been able to grasp the idea of God, he is deemed 
superior to the other animals, let those who hold this opinion 
know that this capacity will be claimed by many of the other 
animals ; and with good reason : for what would any one main- 
tain to be more divine than the power of foreknowing and pre- 
dicting future events ? Men accordingly acquire the art from 
the other animals, and especially from birds. And those who 
listen to the indications furnished by them, become possessed of 
the gift of prophecy. If, then, birds, and the other prophetic 
animals, which are enabled by the gift of God to foreknow 
events, instruct us by means of signs, so much the nearer do 
they seem to be to the society of God, and to be endowed with 
^ »vr66iv. ^ Jolm xvi. 25. ^ ihuTtKu. 


greater wisdom, and to be more beloved by Him. The more 
intelligent of men, moreover, say that the animals hold meet- 
ings which are more sacred than our assemblies, and that 
they know what is said at these meetings, and show that in 
reality they possess this knowledge, when, having previously 
stated that the birds have declared their intention of departing 
to some particular place, and of doing this thing or the other, 
the truth of their assertions is established by the departure of 
the birds to the place in question, and by their doing what was 
foretold. And no race of animals appears to be more observant 
of oaths than the elephants are, or to show greater devotion to 
divine things ; and this, I presume, solely because they have 
some knowledge of God." See here now how he at once lays 
hold of, and brings forward as acknowledged facts, questions 
which are the subject of dispute among those philosophers, not 
only among the Greeks, but also among the Barbarians, who have 
either discovered or learned from certain demons some things 
about birds of augury and other animals, by which certain 
prophetic intimations are said to be made to men. For, in the 
first place, it has been disputed whether there is an art of 
augury, and, in general, a method of divination by animals, or 
not. And, in the second place, they who admit that there is an 
art of divination by birds, are not agreed about the manner of 
the divination ; since some maintain that it is from certain 
demons or gods of divination ""^ that the animals receive their 
impulses to action — the birds to flights and sounds of different 
kinds, and the other animals to movements of one sort or 
another. Others, again, believe that their souls are more 
divine in their nature, and fitted to operations of that kind, 
which is a most incredible supposition. 


Celsus, however, seeing he wished to prove by the foregoing 
statements that the irrational animals are more divine and 
intelligent than human beings, ought to have established at 
greater length the actual existence of such an art of divina- 
tion, and in the next place have energetically undertaken its 
defence, and effectually refuted the arguments of those who 


would annihilate sucli arts of divination, and have overturned 
in a convincing manner also the arguments of those who say 
that it is from demons or from gods that animals receive 
the movements which lead them to divination, and to have 
proved in the next place that the soul of irrational animals is 
more divine than that of man. For, had he done so, and 
manifested a philosophical spirit in dealing with such things, 
we should to the best of our power have met his confident 
assertions, refuting in the first place the allegation that irra- 
tional animals are wiser than men, and showing the falsity of 
the statement that they have ideas of God more sacred than 
ours, and that they hold among themselves certain sacred assem- 
blies. But now, on the contrary, he who accuses us because 
we believe in the Supreme God, requires us to believe that the 
souls of birds entertain ideas of God more divine and distinct 
than those of men. Yet if this is true, the birds have clearer 
ideas of God than Celsus himself ; and it is not matter of sur- 
prise that it should be so with him, who so greatly depreciates 
human beings. Nay, so far as Celsus can make it appear, the 
birds possess grander and more divine ideas than, I do not 
say we Christians do, or than the Jews, who use the same 
Scriptures with ourselves, but even than are possessed by the 
theologians among the Greeks, for they were only human 
beings. According to Celsus, indeed, the tribe of birds that 
practise divination, forsooth, understand the nature of the 
Divine Being better than Pherecydes, and Pythagoras, and 
Socrates, and Plato ! We ought then to go to the birds as our 
teachers, in order that as, according to the view of Celsus, they 
instruct us by their power of divination in the knowledge of 
future events, so also they may free men from doubts regarding 
the Divine Being, by imparting to them the clear ideas which they 
have obtained respecting Him ! It follows, accordingly, that 
Celsus, who regards birds as superior to men, ought to employ 
them as his instructors, and not one of the Greek philosophers ! 

Chapter xc. 

But we have a few remarks to make;, out of a larger number, 
in answer to these statements of Celsus, that we may show the 
ingratitude towards his Maker which is involved in his holding 


these false opinions.^ For Celsus, although a man, and " being 
in honour," ^ does not possess understanding, and therefore he 
did not compare himself with the birds and the other irrational 
animals, which he regards as capable of divining ; but yielding 
to them the foremost place, he lowered himself, and as far as 
he could the whole human race with him (as entertaining lower 
and inferior views of God than the irrational animals), beneath 
the Egyptians, who worship irrational animals as divinities. Let 
the principal point of investigation, however, be this : whether 
there actually is or not an art of divination, by means of birds 
and other living things believed to have such power. For the 
arguments which tend to establish either view are not to be 
despised. On the one hand, it is pressed upon us not to 
admit such an art, lest the rational being should abandon 
the divine oracles, and betake himself to birds ; and on the 
other, there is the energetic testimony of many, that nume- 
rous individuals have been saved from the greatest dangers 
by putting their trust in divination by birds. For the pre- 
sent, however, let it be granted that an art of divination 
does exist, in order that I may in this way show to those who 
are prejudiced on the subject, that if this be admitted, the 
superiority of man over irrational animals, even over those that 
are endowed with power of divination, is great, and beyond all 
reach of comparison with the latter. We have then to say, 
that if there was in them any divine nature capable of fore- 
telling future events, and so rich [in that knowledge] as out 
of its superabundance to make them known to any man who 
wished to know them, it is manifest that they would know 
what concerned themselves far sooner [than what concerned 
others] ; and had they possessed this knowledge, they would 
have been upon their guard against flying to any particular 
place where men had planted snares and nets to catch them, or 
where archers took aim and shot at them in their flight. And 
especially, were eagles aware beforehand of the designs formed 
against their young, either by serpents crawling up to their 
nests and destroying them, or by men who take them for 
their amusement, or for any other useful purpose or service, 
' they would not have placed their young in a spot where they 

^ TYiU ccxotpiarov i^ivhoho^ieiv. ^ Ps. xlix. 12. 



were to be attacked ; and, in general, not one of these animals 
would have been captured by men, because they were more 
divine and intelligent than they. 

Chapter xct. 

But besides, if birds of augury converse with one another,-^ as 
Celsus maintains they do, the prophetic birds having a divine 
nature, and the other rational animals also ideas of the divinity 
and foreknowledge of future events ; and if they had communi- 
cated this knowledge to others, the sparrow mentioned in Homer 
would not have built her nest in the spot where a serpent was 
to devour her and her young ones, nor would the serpent in 
the writings of the same poet have failed to take precaution? 
against being captured by the eagle. For this wonderful poet 
says, in his poem regarding the former : 

"A miglity dragon shot, of dire portent; 
From Jove himself the dreadful sign was sent. 
Straight to the three his sanguine spires he rolled, 
And curled around in many a winding fold. 
The topmost branch a mother bird possessed ; 
Eight callow infants filled the mossy nest ; 
Herself the ninth : the serpent, as he hung, 
Stretched his black jaws, and crushed the dying young; 
While hovering near, with miserable moan. 
The drooping mother wailed her children gone. 
The mother last, as round the nest she flew, 
Seized by the beating wing, the monster slew : 
Nor long survived : to marble turned, he stands 
A lasting prodigy on Aulis sands. 
Such was the will of Jove ; and hence we dare 
Trust in his omen, and support the war."^ 

And regarding the second — the bird — the poet says : 

" Jove's bird on rounding pinions beat the skies, 
A bleeding serpent of enormous size, 
His talons twined ; alive, and curling round, 
He stung the bird, whose throat received the wound. 
Mad with the smart, he drops the fatal prey, 
In airy circles wings his painful way, 

^ stTrsp olavol olavolg ^u-xf^yrcci. For ^uxovrui Ruseus conjectures "^lothi- 
yovrut, which is adopted by Lommatzsch. 
2 Homer, Ilias, ii. 308 sq. (Pope's translation.) 



Floats on the winds, and rends the heaven with cries; 
Amidst the host, the fallen serpent lies. 
They, pale with terror, mark its spires unrolled, 
And Jove's portent with beating hearts behold."^ 

Did the eagle, then, possess the power of divination, and the 
serpent (since this animal also is made use of by the augurs) 
not? But as this distinction can be easily refuted, cannot the 
assertion that both vrere capable of divination be refuted also ? 
For if the serpent had possessed this knowledge, would not he 
have been on his guard against suffering what he did from the 
eagle ? And innumerable other instances of a similar character 
may be found, to show that animals do not possess a prophetic 
soul, but that, according to the poet and the majority of man- 
kind, it is the " Olympian himself who sent him to the light." 
And it is with a symbolical meaning^ that Apollo employs the 
hawk^ as his messenger, for the hawk* is called the "swift 
messenger of Apollo." ^ 

^ Chapter xcii. 

In my opinion, however, it is certain wicked demons, and, so 
to speak, of the race of Titans or Giants, who have been guilty 
of impiety towards the true God, and towards the angels in 
heaven, and wdio have fallen from it, and who haunt the 
denser parts of bodies, and frequent unclean places upon earth, 
and who, possessing some power of distinguishing future events, 
because they are without bodies of earthly material, engage in 
an employment of this kind, and desiring to lead the human 
race away from the true God, secretly enter the bodies of the 
more rapacious and savage and wicked of animals, and stir 
them up to do whatever they choose, and at whatever time they 
choose: either turning the fancies of these animals to make 
flights and movements of various kinds, in order that men may 
be caught by the divining power that is in the irrational 
animals, and neglect to seek after the God who contains all 

1 Homer, Ilias, xii. 290 sq. (Pope's translation.) 

* KtpKQs, " the hen-harrier," "Falco," or " Circus pygargus." Cf. Liddell 
and Scott, s.v. 
« Cf. Homer, Odyss. xv. v. 526. 


things ; or to search after the pure worship of God, but allow 
their reasoning powers to grovel on the earth, and amongst 
birds and serpents, and even foxes and wolves. For it has 
been observed by those who are skilled in such matters, that 
the clearest prognostications are obtained from animals of this 
kind ; because the demons cannot act so effectively in the 
milder sort of animals as they can in these, in consequence 
of the similarity between them in point of wickedness ; and 
yet it is not wickedness, but something like wickedness,-^ which 
exists in these animals. 

> Chapter xciii. 

For which reason, whatever else there may be in the writings 
of Moses which excites my wonder, I would say that the fol- 
lowing is worthy of admiration, viz. that Moses, having observed 
the varying natures of animals, and having either learned from 
God what was peculiar to them, and to the demons which are 
kindred to each of the animals, or having himself ascertained 
these things by his own wisdom, has, in arranging the differ- 
ent kinds of animals, pronounced all those which are sup- 
posed by the Egyptians and the rest of mankind to possess 
the power of divination to be unclean, and, as a general rule, 
all that are not of that class to be clean. And amongst the 
unclean animals mentioned by Moses are the wolf, and fox, and 
serpent, and eagle, and hawk, and such like. And, generally 
speaking, you will find that not only in the law, but also in 
the prophets, these animals are employed as examples of all 
that is most wicked ; and that a wolf or a fox is never men- 
tioned for a good purpose. Each species of demon, conse- 
quently, would seem to possess a certain affinity with a certain 
species of animal. And as among men there are some who 
are stronger than others, and this not at all owing to their 
moral character, so, in the same way, some demons will be 
more powerful in things indifferent than others;^ and one class 
of them employs one kind of animal for the purpose of delud- 
ing men, in accordance with the will of him who is called in 
our Scriptures the " prince of this world," while others predict 
future events by means of another kind of animal. Observe, 


moreover, to what a pitch of wickedness the demons proceed, so 
that they even assume the bodies of weasels in order to reveal 
the future ! And now, consider with yourself whether it is better 
to accept the belief that it is the Supreme God and His Son 
who stir up the birds and the other living creatures to divina- 
tion, or that those who stir up these creatures, and not human 
beings (although they are present before them), are wicked, 
and, as they are called by our Scriptures, unclean demons. 

Chapter xciv. 

But if the soul of birds is to be esteemed divine because 
future events are predicted by them, why should we not rather 
maintain, that when omens -^ are accepted by men, the souls 
of those are divine through which the omens are heard ? 
Accordingly, among such would be ranked the female slave 
mentioned in Homer, who ground the corn, when she said 
regarding the suitors : 

" For the very last time, noAV, will they sup here." ^ 

This slave, then, was divine, while the great Ulysses, the friend 
of Homer's Pallas Athene, was not divine, but understanding 
the words spoken by this " divine " grinder of corn as an omen, 
rejoiced, as the poet says : 

" The divine Ulysses rejoiced at the omen." ^ 

Observe, now, as the birds are possessed of a divine soul, and 
are capable of perceiving God, or, as Celsus says, the gods, it 
is clear that when we men also sneeze, we do so in consequence 
of a kind of divinity that is within us, and which imparts a 
prophetic power to our soul. For this belief is testified by 
many witnesses, and therefore the poet also says : 

" And while he prayed, he sneezed." * 

And Penelope, too, said : 

" Perceiv'st thou not that at every word my son did sneeze ?" * 

~ Cf. Homer, Odyss. iv. v. 685 ; cf. also xx. vv. 116, 119. 

3 Cf. Homer, Odyss. xx. 120. ■* Cf. Homer, Odyss. xvii. 541 

* Cf. Homer, Odyss. xvii. 545. 


Chapter xcv. 

The true God, however, neither employs irrational animals, 
nor any individuals whom chance may offer/ to convey a 
knowledge of the future ; but, on the contrary, the most pure 
and holy of human souls, whom He inspires and endows with 
prophetic power. And therefore, whatever else in the Mosaic 
writings may excite our wonder, the following must be con- 
sidered as fitted to do so : " Ye shall not practise augury, nor 
observe the flight of birds ; "^ and in another place : '^ For the 
nations whom the Lord thy God will destroy from before thy 
face, shall listen to omens and divinations ; but as for thee, the 
Lord thy God has not suffered thee to do so." ^ And he adds : 
" A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you from 
among your brethren."* On one occasion, moreover, God, 
wishing by means of an augur to turn away [His people] from 
the practice of divination, caused the spirit that was in the 
augur to speak as follows ; " For there is no enchantment in 
Jacob, nor is there divination in Israel. In due time will it be 
declared to Jacob and Israel what the Lord will do." ^ And 
now, we who knew these and similar sayings wish to observe 
this precept with the mystical meaning, viz. ^^ Keep thy heart 
with all diligence," ^ that nothing of a demoniacal nature may 
enter into our minds, or any spirit of our adversaries turn our 
imagination whither it chooses. But w^e pray that the light of 
the knowledge of the glory of God may shine in our hearts, 
and that the Spirit of God may dwell in our imaginations, and 
lead them to contemplate the things of God ; for " as many as 
are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." ^ 

Chapter xcvi. 

We ought to take note, however, that the power of foreknow- 
ing the future is by no means a proof of divinity ; for in itself 
it is a thing indifferent, and is found occurring amongst both 
good and bad. Physicians, at any rate, by means of their pro- 

2 Cf. Lev. xix. 26. The Septuagint here differs from the Masoretic text. 
s Cf. Deut. xviii. 14, cf. 12. * Cf. Deut. xviil. 15. 

« Cf. Num. xxiii. 23. « Yioy. iv. 23. ^ Cf. Rom. vui. 14. 



fessional skill foreknow certain things, although their character 
may happen to be bad. And in the same way also pilots, al- 
though perhaps wicked men, are able to foretell the signs ^ [of 
good or bad weather], and the approach of violent tempests 
of wind, and atmospheric changes,^ because they gather this 
knowledge from experience and observation, although I do 
not suppose that on that account any one would term them 
" gods" if their characters happened to be bad. The assertion, 
then, of Celsus is false, when he says : " What could be called 
more divine than the power of foreknowing and foretelling the 
future?" And so also is this, that '' many of the animals claim 
to have ideas of God ;" for none of the irrational animals 
possess any idea of God. And wholly false, too, is his asser- 
tion, that " the irrational animals are nearer the society of God 
[than men]," when even men who are still in a state of wicked- 
ness, liowever great their progress in knowledge, are far 
removed from that society. It is, then, those alone who are 
truly wise and sincerely religious who are nearer to God's 
society ; such persons as were our prophets, and Moses, to 
the latter of whom, on account of his exceeding purity, the 
Scripture said : " Moses alone shall come near the Lord, but 
the rest shall not come nisfh." ^ 

Chapter xcvii. 

How impious, indeed, is the assertion of this man, who 
charges us with impiety, that "not only are the irrational 
animals wiser than the human race, but that they are more 
beloved by God [than they] !" And who would not be repelled 
[by horror] from paying any attention to a man who declared 
that a serpent, and a fox, and a wolf, and an eagle, and a hawk, 
were more beloved by God than the human race? For it 
follows from his maintaining such a position, that if these 
animals be more beloved by God than human beings, it is 
manifest that they are dearer to God than Socrates, and Plato, 
and Pythagoras, and Pherecydes, and those theologians whose 
praises he had sung a little before. And one might address him 
with the prayer : " If these animals be dearer to God than men, 
may you be beloved of God along with them, and be made 

^ sz-ioYi/^uirtcc;. - rpoTru?. ^ Cf. Ex. xxiv. 2. 

264 OniGEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book iv. 

like to those whom you consider as dearer to Him than human 
beings ! " And let no one suppose that such a prayer is meant 
as an imprecation ; for who would not pray to resemble in all 
respects those whom he believes to be dearer to God than 
others, in order that he, like them, may enjoy the divine love? 
And as Celsus is desirous to show that the assemblies of the 
irrational animals are more sacred than ours, he ascribes the 
statement to that effect not to any ordinary individuals, but 
to persons of intelligence. Yet it is the virtuous alone who 
are truly wise, for no wicked man is so. He speaks, accord- 
ingly, in the following style : " Intelligent men say that these 
animals hold assemblies which are more sacred than ours, and 
that they know what is spoken at them, and actually prove that 
they are not without such knowledge, when they mention 
beforehand that the birds have announced their intention of 
departing to a particular place, or of doing this thing or that, 
and then show that they have departed to the place in question, 
and have done the particular thing which was foretold." Now, 
truly, no person of intelligence ever related such things ; nor 
did any wise man ever say that the assemblies of the irrational 
animals, were more sacred than those of men. But if, for the 
purpose of examining [the soundness of] his statements, we 
look to their consequences, it is evident that, in his opinion, 
the assemblies of the irrational animals are more sacred than 
those of the venerable Pherecydes, and Pythagoras, and 
Socrates, and Plato, and of philosophers in general; which 
assertion is not only incongruous^ in itself, but full of absurdity. 
In order that we may believe, however, that certain individuals 
do learn from the indistinct sound of birds that they are 
about to take their departure, and do this thing or that, and 
announce these things beforehand, we would say that this 
information is imparted to men by demons by means of signs, 
with the view of having men deceived by demons, and having 
their understanding dragged down from God and heaven to 
earth, and to places lower still. 

Chapter xcviii. 
I do not know, moreover, how Celsus could hear of the ele- 


phants' [fidelity to] oaths, and of their great devotedness to 
our God, and of the knowledge which they possess of Him. 
For I know many wonderful things which are related of 
the nature of this animal, and of its gentle disposition. But I 
am not aware that any one has spoken of its observance of 
oaths ; unless indeed to its gentle disposition, and its observance 
of compacts, so to speak, when once concluded between it and 
man, he give the name of keeping its oath, which statement 
also in itself is false. For although rarely, yet sometimes it 
has been recorded that, after their apparent tameness, they have 
broken out against men in the most savage manner, and have 
committed murder, and have been on that account condemned 
to death, because no longer of any use. And seeing that after 
this, in order to establish (as he thinks he does) that the stork 
is more pious than any human being, he adduces the accounts 
which are narrated regarding that creature's display of filial 
affection^ in bringing food to its parents for their support, we 
have to say in reply, that this is done by the storks, not from a 
regard to what is proper, nor from reflection, but from a natural 
instinct; the nature which formed them being desirous to show 
an instance among the irrational animals which might put men 
to shame, in the matter of exhibiting their gratitude to their 
parents. And if Celsus had known how great the difference is 
between acting in this way from reason, and from an irrational 
natural impulse, he would not have said that storks are more 
pious than human beings. But further, Celsus, as still con- 
tending for the piety of the irrational creation, quotes the 
instance of the Arabian bird the phoenix, which after many 
years repairs to Egypt, and bears thither its parent, when dead 
and buried in a ball of myrrh, and deposits its body in the 
Temple of the Sun. Now this story is indeed recorded, and, if 
it be true, it is possible that it may occur in consequence of 
some provision of nature ; divine providence freely displaying 
to human beings, by the differences which exist among living 
things, the variety of constitution which prevails in the world, 
and which extends even to birds, and in harmony with which 
He has brought into existence one creature, the only one of its 

^ ccvTi'Ti'hoc.pyovs/TO;. 



kind, in order that by it men may be led to admire, not the 
creature, but Him who created it. 

Chapter xcix. 

In addition to all that he has already said, Celsus subjoins 
the following : " All things, accordingly, were not made for 
man, any more than they were made for lions, or eagles, or 
dolphins, but that this world, as being God's work, might be per- 
fect and entire in all respects. For this reason all things have 
been adjusted, not with reference to each other, but with regard 
to their bearing upon the whole.-^ And God takes care of the 
whole, and [His] providence will never forsake it ; and it does 
not become worse ; nor does God after a time bring it back to 
himself ; nor is He angry on account of men any more than on 
account of apes or flies ; nor does He threaten these beings, each 
one of which has received its appointed lot in its proper place." 
Let us then briefly reply to these statements. I think, indeed, 
that I have shown in the preceding pages that all things were 
created for man, and every rational being, and that it was 
chiefly for the sake of the rational creature that the creation 
took place. Celsus, indeed, may say that this was done not 
more for man than for lions, or the other creatures which he 
mentions ; but we maintain that the Creator did not form these 
things for lions, or eagles, or dolphins, but all for the sake of 
the rational creature, and " in order that this world, as being 
God's work, might be perfect and complete in all things." For 
to this sentiment we must yield our assent as being well said. 
And God takes care, not, as Celsus supposes, merely of the 
wholej but beyond the whole, in a special degree of every 
rational being. Nor will Providence ever abandon the whole ; 
for although it should become more wicked, owing to the sin 
of the rational being, which is a portion of the whole. He makes 
arrangements to purify it, and after a time to bring back the 
whole to Himself. Moreover, He is not angry with apes or 
flies ; but on human beings, as those who have transgressed the 
laws of nature. He sends judgments and chastisements, and 
threatens them by the mouth of the prophets, and by the 

^ axx' SI /n,'^ 'TToiu 'ipyov. '* Gelenius does not recognise these words, and 
Guietus regards them as superfluous." They are omitted in the translation. 


Saviour who came to visit the whole human race, that those 
who hear the threatenings may be converted by them, while 
those who neglect these calls to conversion may deservedly 
suffer those punishments which it becomes God, in conformity 
with that will of His which acts for the advantage of the 
whole, to inflict upon those who need such painful discipline 
and correction. But as our fourth book has now attained suffi- 
cient dimensions, we shall here terminate our discourse. And 
may God grant, through His Son, who is God the Word, and 
Wisdom, and Truth, and Righteousness, and everything else 
which the sacred Scriptures when speaking of God call Him, 
that we may make a good beginning of the fifth book, to the 
benefit of our readers, and may bring it to a successful conclu- 
sion, with the aid of His word abiding in our soul. 



Chapter i. 

}T is not, my reverend Ambrosius, because we seek 
after many words — a thing which is forbidden, and 
in the indulgence of which it is impossible to avoid 
sin ^ — that we now begin the fifth book of our reply 
to the treatise of Celsus, but with the endeavour, so far as may 
be within our power, to leave none of his statements without 
examination, and especially those in which it might appear to 
some that he had skilfully assailed us and the Jews. If it were 
possible, indeed, for me to enter along with my words into the 
conscience of every one without exception who peruses this 
work, and to extract each dart which wounds him who is not 
completely protected with the ^^ whole armour" of God, and 
apply a rational medicine to cure the wound inflicted by Celsus, 
which prevents those who listen to his words from remaining 
" sound in the faith," I would do so. But since it is the work 
of God alone, in conformity with His own Spirit, and along 
with that of Christ, to take up His abode invisibly in those 
persons whom He judges worthy of being visited ; so, on the 
other hand, is our object to try, by means of arguments and 
treatises, to confirm men in their faith, and to earn the name 
of ^^ workmen needing not to be ashamed, rightly dividing 
the word of truth." ^ And there is one thing above all which 
it appears to us we ought to do, if we would discharge faith- 
fully the task enjoined upon us by you, and that is to overturn 
to the best of our ability the confident assertions of Celsus. | 
Let us then quote such assertions of his as follow those which ' 
we have already refuted (the reader must decide whether we 
have done so successfully or not), and let us reply to them, 
1 Cf. Prov. X. 19. 2 cf. 2 Tim. ii. 15. 



And may God grant that we approach not our subject with 
our understanding and reason empty and devoid of divine in- 
spiration, that the faith of those whom we wish to aid may not 
depend upon human wisdom, but that, receiving the " mind" 
of Christ from His Father, who alone can bestow it, and being 
strengthened by participating in the word of God, we may pull 
down " every high thing that exalteth itself against the know- 
ledge of God,"^ and the imagination of Celsus, who exalts him- 
self against us, and against Jesus, and also against Moses and 
the prophets, in order that He who "gave the word to those 
who published it with great power "^ may supply us also, and 
bestow upon us "great power," so that faith in the word and 
power of God may be implanted in the minds of all who will 
peruse our work. 

Chapter ii. 

We have now, then, to refute that statement of his which 
runs as follows : " O Jews and Christians, no God or son of 
a God either came or will come down [to earth]. But if you 
mean that certain angels did so, then what do you call them ? 
Are they gods, or some other race of beings? Some other race 
of beings [doubtless], and in all probability demons." Now 
as Celsus here is guilty of repeating himself (for in the pre- 
ceding pages such assertions have been frequently advanced 
by him), it is unnecessary to discuss the matter at greater 
length, seeing what we have already said upon this point may 
suffice. We shall mention, however, a few considerations out 
of a greater number, such as we deem in harmony with our 
former arguments, but which have not altogether the same 
bearing as they, and by which we shall show that in assert- 
ing generally that no God, or son of God, ever descended 
[among men], he overturns not only the opinions entertained 
by the majority of mankind regarding the manifestation of 
Deity, but also what was formerly admitted by himself. For 
if the general statement, that " no God or son of God has 
come down or will come down," be truly maintained by Celsus, 
it is manifest that we have here overthrown the belief in the 
existence of gods upon the earth who had descended from 
1 Cf. 2 Cor. X. 5. 2 cf. Ps. Ixviii. 11. 


heaven either to predict the future to mankind or to heal them 
by means of divine responses ; and neither the Pythian Apollo, 
nor Esculapius, nor any other among those supposed to have 
done so, would be a god descended from heaven. He might, 
indeed, either be a god who had obtained as his lot [the obliga- 
tion] to dwell on earth for ever, and be thus a fugitive, as it 
were, from the abode of the gods, or he might be one who had 
no power to share in the society of the gods in heaven ;^ or else 
Apollo, and Esculapius, and those others who are believed to 
perform acts on earth, would not be gods, but only certain 
demons, mucli inferior to those wise men among mankind, who 
on account of their virtue ascend to the vault ^ of heaven. 

Chapter hi. 

But observe how, in his desire to subvert our opinions, he 
who never acknowledged himself throughout his whole treatise 
to be an Epicurean, is convicted of being a deserter to that 
sect. And now is the time for you, [reader], who peruse the 
works of Celsus, and give your assent to what has been ad- 
vanced, either to overturn the belief in a God who visits the 
human race, and exercises a providence over each individual 
man, or to grant this, and prove the falsity of the assertions of 
Celsus. If you, then, wholly annihilate providence, you wall 
falsify those assertions of his in which he grants the existence 
of " God and a providence," in order that you may maintain 
the truth of your own position ; but if, on the other hand, you 
still admit the existence of providence, because jot^ do not 
assent to the dictum of Celsus, that " neither has a God nor 
the son of a God come down nor is to come down ^ to man- 
kind," why not rather carefully ascertain from the statements 
made regarding Jesus, and the prophecies uttered concerning 
Him, who it is that we are to consider as having come down to 
the human race as God, and the Son of God 1 — whether that 
Jesus who said and ministered so much, or those who, under 
pretence of oracles and divinations, do not reform the morals 
of their worshippers, but who have besides apostatized from the 
pure and holy worship and honour due to the Maker of all 
things, and who tear away the souls of those who give heed to 


tliGm from the one only visible and true God, under a pretence 
of paying honour to a multitude of deities ? 

Chapter iv. 

But since he says, in the next place, as if the Jews or 
Christians had answered regarding those who come down to 
visit the human race, that they were angels : " But if ye say 
that they are angels, what do you call them?" he continues, 
'' Are they gods, or some other race of beings ? " and then 
iigain introduces us as if answering, " Some other race of 
beings, and probably demons," — let us proceed to notice these 
remarks. For we indeed acknowledge that angels are ^^ mini- 
stering spirits," and we say that ^' they are sent forth to minister 
for them who shall be heirs of salvation ;"^ and that they ascend, 
bearing the supplications of men, to the purest of the heavenly 
places in the universe, or even to supercelestial regions purer 
still ; ^ and that they come down from these, conveying to each 
one, according to his deserts, something enjoined by God to 
be conferred by them upon those who are to be the recipients 
of His benefits. Having thus learned to call these beings 
^'angels" from their employments, we find that because they 
are divine they are sometimes termed "God" in the sacred 
Scriptures,^ but not so that we are commanded to honour and 
AYorship in place of God those who minister to us, and bear to 
us His blessings. For every prayer, and supplication, and inter- 
cession, and thanksgiving, is to be sent up to the Supreme God 
through the High Priest, who is above all the angels, the living 
Word and God. And to the Word Himself shall we also pray 
and make intercessions, and offer thanksgivings and supplica- 
tions to Him, if we have the capacity of distinguishing between 
the proper use and abuse of prayer.* 

Chapter v. 
For to invoke angels without having obtained a knowledge 

1 Cf . Heb. i. 14. 

^ h rols Ko(,6ccparuroii rov yJay^ov xapioig sTovpetvio:;, *} x,xi rolg rovrau 
KX^uparipois v'TZipovpuviotg. 
3 Cf. Ps. Ixxxvi. 8, xcvi. 4, cxxxvi. 2. 
* ioii/ Q\j'joi(/.i6!X, Ka,T»KQvnv T'^f 'Xipl TTpocrevxi^g KvpioM^ioc; xctl Kurctxpnasos* 


of their nature greater than is possessed by men, would be 
contrary to reason. But, conformably to our hypothesis, let 
this knowledge of them, which is something wonderful and 
mysterious, be obtained. Then this knowledge, making known 
to us their nature, and the offices to which they are severally 
appointed, will not permit us to pray with confidence to any 
other than to the Supreme God, who is sufficient for all things, 
and that through our Saviour the Son of God, who is the 
Word, and Wisdom, and Truth, and everything else which the 
writings of God's prophets and the apostles of Jesus entitle 
Him. And it is enough to secure that the holy angels of God 
be propitious to us, and that they do all things on our behalf, 
that our disposition of mind towards God should imitate as far 
as it is within the power of human nature the example of these 
holy angels, who again follow the example of their God ; and 
that the conceptions which we entertain of His Son, the Word, 
so far as attainable by us, should not be opposed to the clearer 
conceptions of Him which the holy angels possess, but should 
daily approach these in clearness and distinctness. But because 
Celsus has not read our Holy Scriptures, he gives himself an 
answer as if it came from us, saying that we " assert that the 
angels who come down from heaven to confer benefits on man- 
kind are a different race from the gods," and adds that " in all 
probability they would be called demons by us :" not observing 
that the name '^demons" is not a term of indifferent meaning 
like that of " men," among whom some are good and some bad, 
nor yet a term of excellence like that of " the gods," which is 
applied not to wicked demons, or to statues, or to animals, but 
(by those who know divine things) to what is truly divine and 
blessed ; whereas the term " demons " is always applied to 
those wicked powers, freed from the encumbrance of a grosser 
body, who lead men astray, and fill them with distractions, 
and drag them down from God and supercelestial thoughts to 
things here below. 

Chapter vi. 

He next proceeds to make the following statement about the 
Jews : — " The first point relating to the Jews which is fitted 
to excite wonder, is that they should worship the heaven and 


liie angels who dwell therein, and yet pass by and neglect its 
most venerable and powerful parts, as the sun, and moon, and 
the other heavenly bodies, both fixed stars and planets, as if it 
were possible that ' the whole ' could be God, and yet its 
parts ^ot divine ; or [as if it were reasonable] to treat with the 
greatest respect those who are said to appear to such as are 
in darkness somewhere, blinded by some crooked sorcery, or 
dreaming dreams through the influence of shadowy spectres,^ 
while those who prophesy so clearly and strikingly to all men, 
by means of whom rain, and heat, and clouds, and thunder 
(to which they offer worship), and lightnings, and fruits, 
and all kinds of productiveness, are brought about, — by means 
of whom God is revealed to them, — the most prominent 
heralds among those beings that are above, — those that are 
truly heavenly angels, — are to be regarded as of no account !" 
In making these statements, Celsus appears to have fallen into 
confusion, and to have penned them from false ideas of things 
which he did not understand ; for it is patent to all who inves- 
tigate the practices of the Jews, and compare them with those 
of the Christians, that the Jews who follow the law, which, 
speaking in the person of God, says, "Thou shalt have no 
other gods before me ; thou shalt not make unto thee an 
image, nor a likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or 
that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the 
earth; thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them,"^ 
worship nothing else than the Supreme God, who made the 
heavens, and all things besides. Now it is evident that those 
who live according to the law, and worship the Maker of 
heaven, will not worship the heaven at the same time with 
God. Moreover, no one who obeys the law of Moses will bow 
down to the angels who are in heaven ; and, in like manner, 
as they do not bow down to sun, moon, and stars, the host of 
heaven, they refrain also from doing obeisance to heaven and 
its angels, obeying the law which declares : " Lest thou lift up 
thine eyes to heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the 
moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldst be 

»j roi/g fcstt iv gkotu ttou ix, yoYirslccg ovk opd^g Tv(pXarrov(TiUj ^ B/ dfAvhpuv 
(PcMfAurav ovsiparrovatu lypi/j/^Trrs;!* TiSyofthovg, su ^oihoc ^p-^aKSvetu. 
« Cf. Ex. XX. 3, 4, 5. 


driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy 
God hath divided unto all nations." ^ 

Chapter vii. 

Having, moreover, assumed that the Jews consider the 
heaven to be God, he adds that this is absurd ; finding fault 
with those who bow down to the heaven, but not also to the 
sun, and moon, and stars, saying that the Jews do this, as if it 
were possible that "the whole" should be God, and its several 
parts not divine. And he seems to call the heaven " a whole," 
and sun, moon, and stars its several parts. Now, certainly 
neither Jews nor Christians call the " heaven " God. Let it 
be granted, however, that, as he alleges, the heaven is called 
God by the Jews, and suppose that sun, moon, and stars are 
parts of " heaven," — which is by no means true, for neither are 
the animals and plants upon the earth any portion of it, — how 
is it true, even according to the opinions of the Greeks, that if 
God be a whole, His parts also are divine ? Certainly they say 
that the Cosmos taken as the whole^ is God, the Stoics calling 
it the First God, the followers of Plato the Second, and some of 
them the Third. According to these philosophers, then, seeing 
the whole Cosmos is God, its parts also are divine ; so that not 
only are human beings divine, but the whole of the irrational 
creation, as being ''portions " of the Cosmos ; and besides these, 
the plants also are divine. And if the rivers, and mountains, 
and seas are portions of the Cosmos, then, since the whole 
Cosmos is God, are the rivers and seas also gods ? But this 
even the Greeks will not assert. Those, however, who preside 
over rivers and seas (either demons or gods, as they call them), 
they would term gods. Now from this it follows that the 
general statement of Celsus, even according to the Greeks, 
who hold the doctrine of Providence, is false, that if any 
^' whole" be a god, its parts necessarily are divine. But it 
follows from the doctrine of Celsus, that if the Cosmos be God, 
all that is in it is divine, being parts of the Cosmos. Now, 
according to this view, animals, as flies, and gnats, and worms, 
and every species of serpent, as well as of birds and fishes, will 
be divine, — an assertion which would not be made even by those 
^ Cf. Deut. iv. 19. ^ to o'Kov 6 x&;. 

Book v.] OltlGEN AGAINST CELSUS. 275 

who maintain that the Cosmos is God. But the Jews, who 
live according to the law of Moses, although they may not 
know how to receive the secret meaning of the law, which is 
conveyed in ohscure language, will not maintain that either the 
heaven or the angels are God. 

Chapter viii. 

As we allege, however, that he has fallen into confusion in 
consequence of false notions which he has imbibed, come and 
let us point them out to the best of our ability, and show that 
althouo-h Celsus considers it to be a Jewish custom to bow 
down to the heaven and the angels in it, such a practice is not 
at all Jewish, but is in violation of Judaism, as it also is to do 
obeisance to sun, moon, and stars, as well as images. You will 
find at least in the book of Jeremiah the words of God cen- 
suring by the mouth of the prophet the Jewish people for 
doing obeisance to such objects, and for sacrificing to the queen 
of heaven, and to all the host of heaven.^ The writings of the 
Christians, moreover, show, in censuring the sins committed 
among the Jews, that when God abandoned that people on 
account of certain sins, these sins [of idol- worship] also were 
committed by them. For it is related in the Acts of the 
Apostles regarding the Jews, that " God turned, and gave 
them up to worship the host of heaven ; as it is written in the 
book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to 
me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the 
wilderness ? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and 
the star of your god Remphan, figures which you made to 
worship them."^ And in the writings of Paul, who was care- 
fully trained in Jewish customs, and converted afterwards to 
Christianity by a miraculous appearance of Jesus, the following 
words may be read in the Epistle to the Colossians : " Let no 
man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and 
worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he 
hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind ; and not 
holding the head, from which all the body by joint and bands 
having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth 
with the increase of God." ^ But Celsus, having neither read 

1 Cf. Jer. vii. 17, 18. ^ q^ ^cts vii. 42, 43. s cf. Col. ii. 18, 19. 


these verses, nor having learned their contents from any other 
source, has represented, I know not how, the Jews as not trans- 
gressing their law in bowing down to the heavens, and to the 
angels therein. 

Chapter ix. 

And still continuing a little confused, and not taking care to 
see what was relevant to the matter, he expressed his opinion 
that the Jews were induced by the incantations employed in 
jugglery and sorcery (in consequence of which certain phan- 
toms appear, in obedience to the spells employed by the magi- 
cians) to bow down to the angels in heaven, not observing that 
this was contrary to their law, which said to them who practised 
such observances : " Regard not them which have familiar 
spirits,^ neither seek after wizards,^ to be defiled by them : I am 
the Lord your God."^ He ought, therefore, either not to 
have at all attributed this practice to the Jews, seeing he has 
observed that they keep their law, and has called them " those 
who live according to their law;" or if he did attribute it, he 
ou2;ht to have shown that the Jews did this in violation of 
their code. But again, as they transgress their law who offer 
worship to those who are said to appear to them who are in- 
volved in darkness and blinded by sorcery, and who dream 
dreams, owing to obscure phantoms presenting themselves ; so 
also do they transgress the law who offer sacrifice to sun, moon, 
and stars.* And there is thus great inconsistency in the same 
individual saying that the Jews are careful to keep their law 
by not bowing down to sun, and moon, and stars, while they 
are not so careful to keep it in the matter of heaven and the 

Chapter x. 

And if it be necessary for us to offer a defence of our refusal 
to recognise as gods, equally with angels, and sun, and moon, 
and stars, those who are called by the Greeks " manifest and 
visible" divinities, we shall answer that the law of Moses knows 

^ eyyxarpi/iivdoi;. ^ ItocoiIoI;. ^ Cf. Lev. xix. 31. 

* The emendations of Ruseus have been adopted in the translation, the 
text being probably corrupt. Cf . Ruseus, in loc. 


that these latter have been apportioned by God among all the 
nations under the heaven, but not amongst those who were 
selected by God as His chosen people above all the nations of 
the earth. For it is written in the book of Deuteronomy : 
" And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou 
seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of 
heaven, shouldst be driven to worship them, and serve them, 
which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under 
the whole heaven. But the Lord hath taken us, and brought 
us forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto 
Him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day."^ The Hebrew 
people, then, being called by God a "chosen generation, and a 
royal priesthood, and a holy nation, and a purchased people," ^ 
regarding whom it was foretold to Abraham by the voice of 
the Lord addressed to him, " Look now towards heaven, and 
tell the stars, if thou be able to number them : and He said 
unto him. So shall thy seed be;"^ and having thus a hope 
that they would become as the stars of heaven, were not likely 
to bow down to those objects which they were to resemble as a 
result of their understanding and observing the law of God. 
For it was said to them : " The Lord our God hath multiplied 
us ; and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for 
multitude."^ In the book of Daniel, also, the following 
prophecies are found relating to those who are to share in the 
resurrection : " And at that time thy people shall be delivered, 
every one that has been written in the book. And many of 
them that sleep in the dust^ of the earth shall awake ; some to 
everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firma- 
ment, and [those] of the many righteous^ as the stars for ever 
and ever,"^ etc. And hence Paul, too, when speaking of the 
resurrection, says : " And there are also celestial bodies, and 
bodies terrestrial : but the glory of the celestial is one, and the 
glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the 
sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the 
stars ; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So 

1 Cf. Deut. iv. 19, 20. 2 cf, 1 p^t. ii. 9. 3 cf. Gen. xv. 5. 

* Cf. Deut. i. 10. 5 .^l,^ccr:. 

• * d-TTo ruv 'hiKcciav ruv tto'K'Kuu. ^ Cf. Dan. xii. 1, 2, 3. 



also is the resurrection of the dead."^ It was not therefore 
consonant to reason that those who had been taught subHmely^ 
to ascend above all created things, and to hope for the enjoy- 
ment of the most^lorious rewards with God on account of their 
virtuous lives, and who had heard the words, ^' Ye are the light 
of the world," ^ and, "Let your light so shine before men, that 
they, seeing your good works, may glorify your Father who is 
in heaven,"* and who possessed through practice this brilliant 
and unfading wisdom, or who had secured even the " very 
reflection of everlasting light," ^ should be so impressed with the 
[mere] visible light of sun, and moon, and stars, that, on account 
of that sensible light of theirs, they should deem themselves 
(although possessed of so great a rational light of knowledge, 
and of the true light, and the light of the world, and the light 
of men) to be somehow inferior to them, and to bow down to 
them; seeing they ought to be worshipped, if they are to receive 
worship at all, not for the sake of the sensible light which is 
admired by the multitude, but because of the rational and true 
light, if indeed the stars in heaven are rational and virtuous 
beings, and have been illuminated with the light of knowledge 
by that wisdom which is the " reflection of everlasting light." 
For that sensible light of theirs is the work of the Creator of 
all things, while that rational light is derived perhaps from the 
principle of free-will within them»^ 

Chapter xt. 

But even this rational light itself ought not to be worshipped 
by him who beholds and understands the true light, by sharing 
in which these also are enlightened ; nor by him who beholds 
God, the Father of the true light, — of whom it has been said, 
" God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all." ^ Those, 
indeed, who worship sun, moon, and stars because their light is 
visible and celestial, would not bow down to a spark of fire or a 
lamp upon earth, because they see the incomparable superiority 
of those objects which are deemed worthy of homage to the 

^ Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 40-42. 2 ^^jy^^T^o^Jyw?. 

3 Matt. V. 14. 4 Cf. Matt. v. 16. 
^ Cf . Origen, de Principiis, i. c. vii. 

® iK Tov iu ccvTol; ocuTs^ov(jiou lAj^Ay^of. ^ Cf. 1 John i. 5. 


light of sparks and lamps. So those who understand that God 
is light, and who have apprehended that the Son of God is 
" the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the 
world," and who comprehend also how He says, "I am the light 
of the world," would not rationally offer worship to that which 
is, as it were, a spark in sun, moon, and stars, in comparison 
with God, who is light of the true light. Nor is it with a view 
to depreciate these great works of God's creative power, or to 
call them, after the fashion of Anaxagoras, ^^ fiery masses,"^ 
that we thus speak of sun, and moon, and stars ; but because 
we perceive the inexpressible superiority of the divinity of God, 
and that of His only-begotten Son, which surpasses all other 
things. And being persuaded that the sun himself, and moon, 
and stars pray to the Supreme God through His only-begotten 
Son, we judge it improper to pray to those beings who them- 
selves offer up prayers [to God], seeing even they themselves 
would prefer that we should send up our requests to the God 
to whom they pray, rather than send them downwards to them- 
selves, or apportion our power of prayer^ between God and 
them. And here I may employ this illustration, as bearing 
upon this point : Our Lord and Saviour, hearing Himself on 
one occasion addressed as " Good Master,"^ referring him who 
used it to His own Father, said, " Why callest thou me good ? 
There is none good but one, that is, God the Father."* And 
since it was in accordance with sound reason that this should 
be said by the Son of His Father's love, as being the image of 
the goodness of God, why should not the sun say with greater 
reason to those that bow down to- him. Why do you worship 
me ? '^ for thou wilt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only 
shait thou serve ;"^ for it is He whom I and all who are with 
me serve and worship. And although one may not be so 
exalted [as the sun], nevertheless let such an one pray to the 
Word of God (who is able to heal him), and still more to His 
Father, who also to the righteous of former times " sent His 
word, and healed them, and delivered them from their de- 

3 Cf . Matt. xix. 17 ; cf. Mark x. 18. * Ibid. 

* Cf. Deut. vi. 13. e cf. Ps. cviL 20. 


Chapter xit. 

God accordingly, in His kindness, condescends to mankind, 
not in any local sense, but through His providence ; -^ while the 
Son of God, not only [when on earth], but at all times, is with 
His own disciples, fulfilling the promise, " Lo, I am with you 
always, even to the end of the world." ^ And if a branch cannot 
bear fruit except it abide in the vine, it is evident that the dis- 
ciples also of the Word, who are the rational branches of the 
Word's true vine, cannot produce the fruits of virtue unless they 
abide in the true vine, the Christ of God, who is with us locally 
here below upon the earth, and who is with those who cleave 
to Him in all parts of the world, and is also in all places with 
those who do not know Him. Another is made manifest by 
that John who wrote the Gospel, when, speaking in the person 
of John the Baptist, he said, " There standeth one among you 
whom ye know^ not ; He it is who cometh after me." ^ And 
it is absurd, when He who fills heaven and earth, and who 
said, "Do I not fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord,"^ is with 
us, and near us (for I believe Him when He says, "I am a 
God nigh at hand, and not afar off, saith the Lord" ^), to seek 
to pray to sun or moon, or one of the stars, whose influence 
does not reach the whole of the world .^ But, to use the very 
w^ords of Celsus, let it be granted that " the sun, moon, and 
stars do foretell rain, and heat, and clouds, and thunders," why, 
then, if they really do foretell such great things, ought we not 
rather to do homage to God, whose servant they are in uttering 
these predictions, and show reverence to Him rather than His 
prophets ? Let them predict, then, the approach of lightnings, 
and fruits, and all manner of productions, and let all such 
things be under their administration ; yet we shall not on that 
account worship those who themselves offer worship, as we do 
not worship even Moses, and those prophets who came from God 
after him, and who predicted better things than rain, and heat, 
and clouds, and thunders, and lightnings, and fruits, and all sorts 
of productions visible to the senses. Nay, even if sun, and 

1 '?rpouor,TiKZ;. 2 i^att. xxviii. 20. ^ Cf. John i. 26, 27. 

4 Cf. Jer. xxiii. 24. « Cf. Jer. xxiii. 23. 


moon, and stars were able to prophesy better things than rain, 
not even then shall we worship them, but the Father of the 
prophecies which are in them, and the Word of God, their 
minister. But grant that they are His heralds, and truly mes- 
sengers of heaven, why, even then ought we not to worship 
the God whom they only proclaim and announce, rather than 
those who are the heralds and messengers ? 

Chapter xiii. 

Celsus, moreover, assumes that sun, and moon, and stars are 
regarded by us as of no account. Now, with regard to these, 
we acknowledge that they too are ^' waiting for the manifesta- 
tion of the sons of God," being for the present subjected to 
the " vanity " of their material bodies, " by reason of Him who 
has subjected the same in hope."-^ But if Celsus had read the 
innumerable other passages where we speak of sun, moon, and 
stars, and especially these, — " Praise Him, all ye stars, and thou, 
01ight,"^and, "Praise Him, ye heaven of heavens," — he would 
not have said of us that we regard such mighty beings, which 
"greatly praise" the Lord God, as of no account. Nor did 
Celsus know the passage : " For the earnest expectation of the 
creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 
For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but 
by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope; because 
the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of 
corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." ^ 
And with these words let us terminate our defence against the 
charge of not worshipping sun, moon, and stars. And let us 
now bring forward those statements of his which follow, that 
we may, God willing, address to him in reply such arguments 
as shall be suggested by the light of truth. 

Chapter xiv. 

The following, then, are his words : " It is folly on their part 
to suppose that when God, as if He were a cook,* introduces 
the fire [which is to consume the world], all the rest of the 
human race will be burnt up, while they alone will remain, not 

1 Cf. Rom. viii. 19-21. 2 cf. pg, cxlviii. 3. 

3 Cf. Rom. viil 19-21. 


only such of them as are then alive, but also those who are long 
since dead, which latter will arise from the earth clothed with 
the self-same flesh [as during life] ; for such a hope is simply 
one which might be cherished by worms. For what sort of 
human soul is that which would still long for a body that had 
been subject to corruption? Whence, also, this opinion of 
yours is not shared by some of the Christians, and they pro- 
nounce it to be exceedingly vile, and loathsome, and impossible ; 
for what kind of body is that which, after being completely 
corrupted, can return to its original nature, and to that self- 
same first condition out of which it fell into dissolution? 
Being unable to return any answer, they betake themselves 
to a most absurd refuge, viz. that all things are possible to 
God. And yet God cannot do things that are disgraceful, nor 
does He wish to do things that are contrary to His nature ; nor, 
if (in accordance w^ith the wickedness of your ow^n heart) you 
desired anything that was evil, would God accomplish it ; nor 
must you believe at once that it will be done. For God does 
not rule the world in order to satisfy inordinate desires, or to 
allow disorder and confusion, but to govern a nature that is 
upright and just.^ For the soul, indeed. He might be able to 
provide an everlasting life ; while dead bodies, on the contrary, 
are, as Heraclitus observes, more worthless than dung. God, 
however, neither can nor will declare, contrary to all reason, 
that the flesh, which is full of those things which it is not even 
honourable to mention, is to exist for ever. For He is the 
reason of all things that exist, and therefore can do nothing 
either contrary to reason or contrary to Himself." 

Chapter xv. 

Observe, now, here at the very beginning, how, in ridiculing 
the doctrine of a conflagration of the world, held by certain of 
the Greeks who have treated the subject in a philosophic spirit 
not to be depreciated, he would make us, " representing God, as 
it were, as a cook, hold the belief in a general conflagration ; " 
not perceiving that, as certain Greeks w^ere of opinion (perhaps 
having received their information from the ancient nation of 


the Hebrews), it is ti purificatory fire which is brought upon the 
world, and probably also on each one of those who stand in 
need of chastisement by the fire and healing at the same time, 
seeing it hums indeed, but does not consume, those who are 
without a material body,^' which needs to be consumed by that 
fire, and which burns and consumes those who by their actions, 
words, and thoughts have built up wood, or hay, or stubble, in 
that which is figuratively termed a " building."^ And the Holy 
Scriptures say that the Lord will, like a refiner's fire and 
fuller's soap,^ visit each one of those who require purification, 
because of the intermingling in them of a flood of wicked 
matter proceeding from their evil nature ; who need fire, I 
mean, to refine, as it were, [the dross of] those who are inter- 
mingled with copper, and tin, and lead. And he who likes 
may learn this from the prophet Ezekiel.* But that we say 
that God brings fire upon the world, not like a cook, but like a 
God, who is the benefactor of them who stand in need of the 
discipline of fire,^ will be testified by the prophet Isaiah, in 
whose writings it is related that a sinful nation was thus ad- 
dressed : " Because thou hast coals of fire, sit upon them : 
they shall be to thee a help." ^ Now the Scripture is appro- 
priately adapted to the multitudes of those who are to peruse 
it, because it speaks obscurely of things that are sad and gloomy,'^ 
in order to terrify those who cannot by any other means be 
saved from the flood of their sins, although even then the 
attentive reader will clearly discover the end that is to be accom- 
plished by these sad and painful punishments upon those who 
endure them. It is sufficient, however, for the present to quote 
the words of Isaiah : " For my name's sake will I show mine 
anger, and my glory I will bring upon thee, that I may not 
destroy thee."^ We have thus been under the necessity of 
referring in obscure terms to questions not fitted to the capacity 
of simple believers, w^ho require a simpler instruction in words, 
that we might not appear to leave unrefuted the accusation of 
Celsus, that " God introduces the fire, [which is to destroy the 
world], as if He were a cook." 

1 t-hr^y. 2 cf, 1 Cor. iii. 12. » Cf. Mai. iii. 2. 

* Cf. Ezek. xxii. 18, 20. ^ ^^'^.^ ^^i ^^^^^^ ^ e cf. Isa. xlvii. 14, 15. 

"^ Tfic GKuSpuTira,, 8 Qf^ jg^^ xlviii. 9 (Septuagint). 


Chapter xvi. 

From what has been said, it will be manifest to intelligent 
hearers how we have to answer the following : '•'• All the rest 
of the race will be completely burnt up, and they alone will 
remain." It is not to be wondered at, indeed, if such thoughts 
have been entertained by those amongst us who are called in 
Scripture the "- foolish things " of the world, and " base things," 
and' " things which are despised," and ^' things which are not," 
because ^^hy the foolishness of preaching it pleased God to 
save them that believe on Him, after that, in the wisdom of 
God, the world by wisdom knew not God," ^ — because such 
individuals are unable to see distinctly the sense of each par- 
ticular passage,^ or unwilling to devote the necessary leisure to 
the investigation of Scripture, notwithstanding the injunction of 
Jesus, " Search the Scriptures." ^ The following, moreover, 
are hjs ideas regarding the fire which is to be brought upon 
the world by God, and the punishments which are to befall 
sinners. And perhaps, as it is appropriate to children that 
some things should be addressed to them in a manner befitting 
their infantile condition, to convert them, as being of very 
tender age, to a better course of life; so, to those whom the word 
terms " the foolish things of the world," and " the base," and 
" the despised," the just and obvious meaning of the passages 
relating to punishments is suitable, inasmuch as they cannot 
receive any other mode of conversion than that which is by 
fear and the presentation of punishment, and thus be saved 
from the many evils [which would befall them].* The Scrip- 
ture accordingly declares that only those who are unscathed by 
the fire and the punishments are to remain, — those, viz., whose 
opinions, and morals, and mind have been purified to the 
highest degree ; while, on the other hand, those of a different 
nature — those, viz., who, according to their deserts, require the 
administration of punishment by fire — will be involved in these 
sufferings with a view to an end which it is suitable for God 
to bring upon those who have been created in His image, but 
who have lived in opposition to the will of that nature which 

^ Cf. 1 Cor. i. 21> - roi kxto, rov; roVoyg-. 

® Cf. John V. 39. ^ kuI tuu 'ttoXKuv Koiycuy d7ro)(,yiv. 


is according to His image. And this is our answer to the state- 
ment, " All the rest of the race will be completely burnt up, 
but they alone are to remain." 

Chapter xvii. 

Then, in the next place, having either himself misunderstood 
the sacred Scriptures, or those [interpreters] by whom they were 
not understood, he proceeds to assert that " it is said by us that 
there will remain at the time of the visitation which is to come 
upon the world by the fire of purification, not only those who 
are then alive, but also those who are long ago dead ; " not ob- 
serving that it is with a secret kind of wisdom that it was said 
by the apostle of Jesus : *' We shall not all sleep, but we shall 
all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the 
last trump ; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be 
raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." ^ Now he ought 
to have noticed what was the meaning of him who uttered 
these words, as being one who was by no means dead, who 
made a distinction between himself and those like him and the 
dead, and who said afterwards, "The dead shall be raised 
incorruptible,' ' and "we shall be changed." And as a proof 
that such was the apostle's meaning in writing those words 
which I have quoted from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 
I will quote also from the First to the Thessalonians, in which 
Paul, as one who is alive and awake, and different from those 
v^^ho are asleep, speaks as follows : " For this we say unto you 
by the w^ord of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain 
unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them who are 
asleep ; for the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with 
a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump 
of God." ^ Then, again, after this, knowing that there were 
others dead in Christ besides himself and such as he, he sub- 
joins the words, "The dead in Christ shall rise first; then 
we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with 
them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." ^ 

1 Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 51, 52. 
8 Cf. 1 Thess. iv. 16, 17. 


Chapter xviii. 
But since he has ridiculed at great length the doctrine of 
the resurrection of the flesh, which has been preached in the 
churches, and which is more clearly understood by the more 
intelligent believer ; and as it is unnecessary again to quote his 
words, which have been already adduced, let us, with regard to 
the problem-^ (as in an apologetic work directed against an 
alien from the faith, and for the sake of those who are still 
" children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every 
wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning crafti- 
ness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive " ^), state and establish 
to the best of our ability a few points expressly intended for 
our readers. Neither we, then, nor the Holy Scriptures, assert 
that with the same bodies, without a change to a higher con- 
dition, ^^ shall those who were long dead arise from the earth 
and live again ; " for in so speaking, Celsus makes a false 
charge against us. For we may listen to many passages of 
Scripture treating of the resurrection in a manner worthy' of 
God, although it may suffice for the present to quote the 
language of Paul from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 
where he says : " But some man will say. How are the dead 
raised up ? and with what body do they come ? Thou fool, that 
which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die. And that 
which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but 
bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain ; 
but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every 
seed his own body." ^ Now, observe how in these words he. 
says that there is sown, " not that body that shall be;" but that 
of the body which is sown and cast naked into the earth (God 
giving to each seed its own body), there takes place as it were 
a resurrection : from the seed that was cast into the ground 
there arising a stalk, e.g» among such plants as the following, 
viz. the mustard plant, or of a larger tree, as in the olive,* or 
one of the fruit-trees. 

Chapter xix. 
God, then, gives to each thing its own body as He pleases : 

■^ 'TTspl rov 'Trpo/S'hTi^eirog rovrcv. ^ Cf. Eph. iv. 14. 

^ Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 35-38. * hu t'Kuiots Trvpijvi. 


as in the case of plants that are sown, so also in the case of 
those beings who are, as it were, sown in dying, and who in 
due time receive, out of what has been "sown," the body 
assigned by God to each one according to his deserts. And we 
may hear, moreover, the Scripture teaching us at great length 
the difference between that which is, as it were, " sown," and 
that which is, as it were, "raised" from it, in these words : "It 
is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption ; it is sown in 
dishonour, it is raised in glory ; it is sown in weakness, it is 
raised in power ; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual 
body."^ And let him who has the capacity understand the 
meaning of the words : " As is the earthy, such are they also 
that are earthy ; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that 
are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, 
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." ^ And although 
the apostle wished to conceal the secret meaning of the passage, 
which was not adapted to the simpler class of believers, and to 
the understanding of the common people, who are led by their 
faith to enter on a better course of life, he was nevertheless 
obliged afterwards to say (in order that we might not mis- 
apprehend his meaning), after " Let us bear the image of the 
heavenly," these words also : " Now this I say, brethren, that 
flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God ; neither 
doth corruption inherit incorruption."^ Then, knowing that 
there was a secret and mystical meaning in the passage, as was 
becoming in one who was leaving, in his epistles, to those who 
were to come after him words full of significance, he subjoins 
the following, " Behold, I show you a mystery ; "* which is his 
usual style in introducing matters of a profounder and more 
mystical nature, and such as are fittingly concealed from the 
multitude, as is written in the book of Tobit : " It is good to 
keep close the secret of a king, but honourable to reveal the 
works of God,"^— in a way consistent with truth and God's 
glory, and so as to be to the advantage of the multitude. Our 
hope, then, is not " the hope of worms, nor does our soul long 
for a body that has seen corruption ;" for although it may 

1 Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 42, 43. 2 cf. 1 Cor. xv. 48, 49. 

3 Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 49. •* Cf. 1 Cor. xv. 50. 

s Cf. Tobit xii. 7. 


require a body, for the sake of moving from place to place/ 
yet It understands (as having meditated on the wisdom [that 
is from above], agreeably to the declaration, " The mouth of 
the righteous will speak wisdom"^) the difference between the 
" earthly house," in which is the tabernacle of the building that 
is to be dissolved, and that in which the righteous do groan, 
being burdened, — not wishing to "put off" the tabernacle, but 
to be " clothed therewith," that by being clothed upon, mor- 
tality might be swallowed up of life. For, in virtue of the 
whole nature of the body being corruptible, the corruptible 
tabernacle must put on incorruption ; and its other part, being 
mortal, and becoming liable to the death which follows sin, 
must put on immortality, in order that, when the corruptible 
shall have put on incorruption, and the mortal immortality, 
then shall come to pass what was predicted of old by the 
prophets, — the annihilation of the " victory" of death (because 
it had conquered and subjected us to t^s sway), and of its 
" sting," with which it stings the imperfectly defended soul, 
and inflicts upon it the w^ounds which result from sin. 

Chapter xx. 

But since our views regarding the resurrection have, as far 
as time would permit, been stated in part on the present occa- 
sion (for we have systematically examined the subject in greater 
detail in other parts of our writings) ; and as now we must 
by means of sound reasoning refute the fallacies of Celsus, 
who neither understands the meaning of our Scripture, nor has 
the capacity of judging that the meaning of our wise men is 
not to be determined by those individuals who make no pro- 
fession of anything more than of a [simple] faith in the Chris- 
tian system, let us show that men, not to be lightly esteemed on 
account of their reasoning powers and dialectic subtleties, have 
given expression to very absurd^ opinions. And if we must 
sneer* at them as contemptible old wives' fables, it is at them 
rather than at our jiarrative that we must sneer. The dis- 
ciples of the Porch assert, that after a period of years there 
will be a conflagration of the world, and after that an arrange- 

^ hse. rocg ro'^uicg f^ircc^xaeig. ^ Cf_ Pg^ xxxvii. 30. 


merit of things in which everything will be unchanged, as 
compared with the former arrangement of the world. Those 
of them, however, who evinced their respect for this doctrine 
have said that there will be a change, although exceedingly 
slight, at the end of the cycle, from what prevailed during the 
preceding. And these men maintain, that in the succeeding 
cycle the same things will occur, and Socrates will be again the 
son of Sophroniscus, and a native of Athens ; and Phaenarete, 
being married to Sophroniscus, will again become his mother. 
And although they do not mention the word " resurrection," 
they show in reality that Socrates, who derived his origin from 
seed, will spring from that of Sophroniscus, and will be 
fashioned in the womb of Phsenarete ; and being brought up 
at Athens, will practise the study of philosophy, as if his former 
philosophy had arisen again, and were to be in no respect dif- 
ferent from what it was before. Anytus and Melitus, too, will 
arise again as accusers of Socrates, and the Council of Areo- 
pagus will condemn him to death ! But what is more ridiculous 
still, is that Socrates will clothe himself with garments not at 
all different from those which he wore during the former cycle, 
and will live in the same unchanged state of poverty, and in 
the same unchanged city of Athens ! And Phalaris will again 
play the tyrant, and his brazen bull will pour forth its bellow- 
ings from the voices of victims within, unchanged from those 
who -were condemned in the former cycle ! And Alexander of 
Pherae, too, will again act the tyrant with a cruelty unaltered 
from the former time, and will condemn to death the same 
" unchanged" individuals as before. But what need is there to 
go into detail upon the doctrine held by the Stoic philosophers 
"on such things, and which escapes the ridicule of Celsus, and 
is perhaps even venerated by him, since he regards Zeno as a 
wiser man than Jesus % 

Chapter xxi. 

The disciples of Pythagoras, too, and of Plato, although they 
appear to hold the incorruptibility of the world, yet fall into 
similar errors. For as the planets, after certain definite cycles, 
assume the same positions, and hold the same relations to one 
another, all things on earth will, they assert, be like what they 



were at tlie time when the same state of planetary relations 
existed in the world. From this view it necessarily follows, 
that when, after the lapse of a lengthened cycle, the planets 
come to occupy towards each other the same relations which 
they occupied in the time of Socrates, Socrates will again be 
born of the same parents, and suffer the same treatment, being 
accused by Anytus and Melitus, and condemned by the Council 
of Areopagus ! The learned among the Egyptians, moreover, 
hold similar views, and yet they are treated with respect, and 
do not incur the ridicule of Celsus and such as he ; while we, 
who maintain that all things are administered by God in pro- 
portion to the relation of the free-will of each individual, and are 
ever being brought into a better condition, so far as they admit 
of being so,^ and who know that the nature of our free-will ad- 
mits of the occurrence of contingent events^ (for it is incapable 
of receiving the wholly unchangeable character of God), yet 
do not appear to say anything worthy of a testing examination. 

Chapter xxii. 

Let no one, however, suspect that, in speaking as we do, we 
belong to those who are indeed called Christians, but who set 
aside the doctrine of the resurrection as it is taught in Scrip- 
ture. For these persons cannot, so far as their principles 
apply, at all establish that the stalk or tree which springs up 
comes from the grain of wheat, or anything else [which was 
cast into the ground] ; whereas we, who believe that that 
which is ^^sown" is not ^^ quickened" unless it die, and that 
there is sown not that body that shall be (for God gives it a 
body as it pleases Him, raising it in incorruption after it is 
sown in corruption ; and after it is sown in dishonour, raising 
it in glory ; and after it is sown in weakness, raising it in 
power ; and after it is sown a natural body, raising it a spiritual), 
— we preserve both the doctrine^ of the church of Christ and 
the grandeur of the divine promise, proving also the possibility 
of its accomplishment not by mere assertion, but by arguments; 
knowing that although heaven and earth, and the things that 

^ KXroi TO Ivhi-jCOf^SVOU. 

^ Koil TYtU roll l^'' ijfiiu (pvaiu yiyuuaKQUTS; luoi-jCOiAivau ec ivoi')(,'iTUt. 


are in them, may pass away, yet His words regarding each 
individual thing, being, as parts of a whole, or species of a 
genus, the utterances of Him who was God the Word, who 
was in the beginning with God, shall by no means pass away. 
For we desire to listen to Him who said : " Heaven and earth 
shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."^ 

Chapter xxiii. 

We, therefore, do not maintain that the body which has 
undergone corruption resumes its original nature, any more 
than the grain of wheat which has decayed returns to its former 
condition. But we do maintain, that as above the grain of wheat 
there arises a stalk, so a certain power ^ is implanted in the 
body, which is not destroyed, and from which the body is raised 
up in incorruption. The philosophers of the Porch, however, 
in consequence of the opinions which they hold regarding the 
unchangeableness of things after a certain cycle, assert that the 
body, after undergoing complete corruption, -will return to its 
original condition, and will again assume that first nature from 
which it passed into a state of dissolution, establishing these 
points, as they think, by irresistible arguments.^ We, however, 
do not betake ourselves to a most absurd refuge, saying that 
with God all things are possible ; for we know how to under- 
stand this word " all " as not referring either to things that are 
non-existent " or that are inconceivable. But we maintain, 
at the same time, that God cannot do what is disgraceful, since 
then He would be capable of ceasing to be God ; for if He do 
anything that is disgraceful, He is not God. Since, however, 
he lays it down as a principle, that " God does not desire what 
is contrary to nature," we have to make a distinction, and say 
that if any one asserts that wickedness is contrary to nature, 
while we maintain that ^^ God does not desire what is contrary 
to nature," — either what springs, from wickedness or from an 
irrational principle, — yet, if such things happen according to 
the word and will of God, we must at once necessarily hold that 
they are not contrary to nature. Therefore things which are 
done by God, although they may be, or may appear to some to 
1 Cf. Matt. xxiv. 35 ; cf. Mark xiii. 31. 


be incredible, are not contrary to nature. And if we must press 
the force of words,^ we would say that, in comparison with what is 
generally understood as " nature," there are certain things which 
are beyond its power, which God could at any time do ; as, e.g.^ in 
raising man above the level of human nature, and causing him 
to pass into a better and more divine condition, and preserving 
him in the same, so long as he who is the object of His care 
shows by his actions that he desires [the continuance of His help]. 

Chapter xxiv. 

Moreover, as we have already said that for God to desire any- 
thing unbecoming Himself would be destructive of His existence 
as Deity, we will add that if man, agreeably to the wickedness of 
his nature, should desire anything that is abominable,^ God can- 
not grant it. And now it is from no spirit of contention that we 
answer the assertions of Celsus ; but it is in the spirit of truth 
that we investigate them, as assenting to his view that '' He is 
the God, not of inordinate desires, nor of error and disorder, 
but of a nature just and upright," because He is the source of 
all that is good. And that Pie is able to provide an eternal 
life for the soul we acknowledge ; and that He possesses not 
only the " power," but the " will." In view, therefore, of these 
considerations, we are not at all distressed by the assertion of 
Heraclitus, adopted by Celsus, that " dead bodies are to be cast 
out as more worthless than dung ; " and yet, with reference even 
to this, one might say that dung, indeed, ought to be cast out, 
while the dead bodies of men, on account of the soul by which 
they were inhabited, especially if it had been virtuous, ought 
not to be cast out. For, in harmony with those laws which are 
based upon the principles of equity, bodies are deemed worthy 
of sepulture, with the honours accorded on such occasions, that 
no insult, so far as can be helped, may be offered to the soul 
which dwelt within, by casting forth the body (after the soul 
has departed) like that of the animals. Let it not then be 
held, contrary to reason, that it is the will of God to declare 
that the grain of wheat is not immortal, but the stalk which 
springs from it, while the body which is sown in corruption is 
not, but that which is raised by Him in incorruption. But 

^ ii "hi x,,"'^ S-6tX(xusuag ovoy^aaect. ^ fiihsAvpop, 


according to Celsus, God Himself is the reason of all things, 
while according to our view it is His Son, of whom we say in 
philosophic language, '^ In the beginning was the Word, and 
the Word was with God, and the Word was God ; " ^ while in 
our judgment also, God cannot do anything which is contrary 
to reason, or contrary to Himself. 

Chapter xxv. 

Let us next notice the statements of Celsus, which follow 
the preceding, and which are as follow : '* As the Jews, then, 
became a peculiar people, and enacted laws in keeping with the 
customs of their country,^ and maintain them up to the present 
time, and observe a mode of worship which, whatever be its 
nature, is yet derived from their fathers, they act in these re- 
spects like other men, because each nation retains its ancestral 
customs, whatever they are, if they happen to be established 
among them. And such an arrangement appears to be advan- 
tageous, not only because it has occurred to the mind of other 
nations to decide some things differently, but also because it is 
a duty to protect what has been established for the public ad- 
vantage ; and also because, in all probabihty, the various quar- 
ters of the earth were from the beginning allotted to different 
superintending spirits,^ and were thus distributed among certain 
governing powers,^ and in this manner the administration of the 
world is carried on. And whatever is done among each nation 
in this way would be rightly done, wherever it was agreeable to 
the wishes [of the superintending powers], while it would be an 
act of impiety to get rid of ^ the institutions established from the 
beginning in the various places." By these words Celsus shows 
that the Jews, who were formerly Egyptians, subsequently 
became a " peculiar people," and enacted laws which they care- 
fully preserve. And not to repeat his statements, which have 
been already before us, he says that it is advantageous to the 
Jews to observe their ancestral worship, as other nations care- 
fully attend to theirs. And he further states a deeper reason 
why it is of advantage to the Jews to cultivate their ancestral 

^ Cf. John i. 1. 2 ^^i Koira. TO iTTtx^ptoy vouovg Giy.i'jot, 

* T06 i^ipm rrjg yvjg l| clpx,'?i; oi'hT^ci uhT^oig iTro-Trron; iivJifAny-iyu. 

■* Kotl y.x~a, rivu; iTriKpocTsiag oieiT^ripc^uiua. ^ "TrupuT^vuv. 


customs, in liinting dimly that those to whom was allotted the 
office of superintending the country which was being legis- 
lated for, enacted the laws of each land in co-operation with its 
legislators. He appears, then, to indicate that both the country 
of the Jews, and the nation which inhabits it, are superintended 
by one or more beings, who, whether they were one or more, 
co-operated with Moses, and enacted the laws of the Jews. 

Chapter xxvi. 

" We must," he says, ^' observe the laws, not only because 
it has occurred to the mind of others to decide some things 
differently, but because it is a duty to protect what has been 
enacted for the public advantage, and also because, in all 
probability, the various quarters of the earth were from the 
beginning allotted to different superintending spirits, and were 
distributed among certain governing powers, and in this manner 
the administration of the world is carried on." Thus Celsus, 
as if he had forgotten what he had said against the Jews, now 
includes them in the general eulogy which he passes upon all 
who observe their ancestral customs, remarking : " And what- 
ever is done among each nation in this way, would be rightly 
done whenever agreeable to the wishes [of the superintendents]." 
And observe here, whether he does not openly, so far as he can, 
express a wish that the Jew should live in the observance of 
his own laws, and not depart from them, because he would 
commit an act of impiety if he apostatized ; for his words are : 
" It would be an act of impiety to get rid of the institutions 
established from the beginning in the various places." Now I 
should like to ask him, and those who entertain his views, who 
it was that distributed the various quarters of the earth from 
the beginning among the different superintending spirits ; and 
especially, who gave the country of the Jews, and the Jewish 
people themselves, to the one or more superintendents to whom 
it was allotted ? Was it, as Celsus would say, Jupiter who 
assigned the Jewish people and their country to a certain spirit 
or spirits? And w^as it his wish, to whom they were thus 
assigned, to enact among them the laws which prevail, or was 
it against his will that it was done ? You will observe that, 
whatever be his answer, he is in a strait. But if the various 


quarters of the earth were not allotted by some one being to the 
various superintending spirits, then each one at random, and 
without the superintendence of a higher power, divided the 
earth according to chance ; and yet such a view is absurd, and 
destructive in no small degree of the providence of the God 
who presides over all things. 

Chapter xxvii. 

Any one, indeed, who chooses, may relate how the various 
quarters of the earth, being distributed among certain governing 
powers, are administered by those who superintend them ; but 
let him tell us also how what is done amonix each nation is 
done rightly when agreeable to the wishes of the superin- 
tendents. Let him, for example, tell us whether the laws of 
the Scythians, which permit the murder of parents, are right 
laws ; or those of the Persians, which do not forbid the mar- 
riages of sons with their mothers, or of daughters with their 
own fathers. But what need is there for me to make selections 
from those who have been en^acred in the business of enactino; 
laws among the different nations, and to inquire how the laws 
are rightly enacted among each, according as they please the 
superintending powers ? Let Celsus, however, tell us how it 
would be an act of impiety to get rid of those ancestral laws 
which permit the marriages of mothers and daughters; or 
which pronounce a man happy who puts an end to his life by 
hanging, or declare that they undergo entire purification who 
deliver themselves over to the fire, and who terminate their 
existence by fire ; and how it is an act of impiety to do away 
with those laws which, for example, prevail in the Tauric 
Chersonese, regarding the offering up of strangers in sacrifice 
to Diana, or among certain of the Libyan tribes regarding the 
sacrifice of children to Saturn. Moreover, this inference fol- 
lows from the dictum of Celsus, that it is an act of impiety on 
the part of the Jews to do away with those ancestral laws 
which forbid the worship of any other deity than the Creator of 
all things. And it will follow, according to his view, that piety 
is not divine by its own nature, but by a certain [external] 
arrangement and appointment. For it is an act of piety among 
certain tribes to worship a crocodile, and to eat what is an 


object of adoration among other tribes ; while, again, with others 
it is a pious act to worship a calf, and among others, again, to 
regard the goat as a god. And, in this way, the same indi- 
vidual will be regarded as acting piously according to one set 
of laws, and impiously according to another ; and this is the 
most absurd result that can be conceived ! 

Chapter xxviii. 

It is probable, however, that to such remarks as the above, 
the answer returned would be, that he was pious who kept the 
laws of his oiun country, and not at all chargeable with impiety 
for the non-observance of those of other lands; and that, again, 
he who was deemed guilty of impiety among certain nations 
was not really so, when he worshipped his own gods, agreeably 
to his country's laws, although he made war against, and even 
feasted on,^ those who were regarded as divinities among those 
nations which possessed laws of an opposite kind. Now, observe 
here whether these statements do not exhibit the greatest con- 
fusion of mind regarding the nature of what is just, and holy, 
and religious ; since there is no accurate definition laid down of 
these things, nor are they described as having a peculiar cha- 
racter of their own, and stamping as religious those who act 
according to their injunctions. If, then, religion, and piety, 
and righteousness belong to those things which are so only by 
comparison, so that the same act may be both pious and impious, 
according to different relations and diJfferent laws, see whether 
it will not follow that temperance ^ also is a thing of compari- 
son, and courage as well, and prudence, and the other virtues, 
than which nothing could be more absurd! What we have 
said, however, is sufficient for the more general and simple 
class of answers to the allegations of Celsus. But as we think 
it likely that some of those who are accustomed to deeper 
investigation will fall in with this treatise, let us venture to lay 
down some considerations of a profounder kind, conveying a 
mystical and secret view respecting the original distribution of 
the various quarters of the earth among different superintending 
spirits ; and let us prove to the best of our ability, that our 
doctrine is free from the absurd consequences enumerated above. 


Chapter xxix. 

It appears to me, indeed, that Celsus has misunderstood some 
of the deeper reasons relating to the arrangement of terrestrial 
affairs, some of which are touched upon^ even in Grecian his- 
tory, when certain of those who are considered to be gods are 
introduced as having contended with each other about the 
possession of Attica ; while in the writings of the Greek poets 
also, some who are called gods are represented as acknowledging 
that certain places here are preferred by them ^ before others. 
The history of barbarian nations, moreover, and especially that 
of Egypt, contains some such allusions to the division of the 
so-called Egyptian nomes, when it states that Athena, who 
obtained Sais by lot, is the same who also has possession of 
Attica. And the learned among the Egyptians can enumerate 
innumerable instances of this kind, although I do not know 
whether they include the Jews and their country in this 
division. And now, so far as testimonies outside the word of 
God bearing on this point are concerned, enough have been 
adduced for the present. Yf e say, moreover, that our prophet 
of God and His genuine servant Moses, in his song in the bock 
of Deuteronomy, makes a statement regarding the portioning 
out of the earth in the following terms : '^ When the Most 
High divided the nations, when He dispersed the sons of Adam, 
He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the 
angels of God ; and the Lord's portion was His people Jacob, 
and Israel the cord of His inheritance." ^ And regarding the 
distribution of the nations, the same Moses, in his work entitled 
Genesis, thus expresses himself in the style of a historical 
narrative : " And the whole earth was of one lano-uaoje and 
of one speech ; and it came to pass, as they journeyed from 
the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and 
they dwelt there." ^ A little further on he continues : " And 
the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the 
children of men had built. And the Lord said, Behold, the 
people is one, and they have all one language ; and this they 
have begun to do : and now nothing will be restrained from 

s Cf. Deut. xxxii. 8, 9 (LXX.). * Cf. Gen. xi. 1, 2. 


them which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, 
and there confound their language, that they may not under- 
stand one another's speech. And the Lord scattered them 
abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth : and they 
left off to build the city and the tower. Therefore is the 
name of it called Confusion ; ^ because the Lord did there 
confound the lano-ua^e of all the earth : and from thence did 
the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." ^ 
In the treatise of Solomon, moreover, on "• Wisdom," and on 
the events at the time of the confusion of languages, when the 
division of the earth took place, we find the following regard- 
ing Wisdom ; " Moreover, the nations in their wicked con- 
spiracy being confounded, she found out the righteous, and 
preserved him blameless unto God, and kept him strong in his 
tender compassion towards his son." ^ But on these subjects 
much, and that of a mystical kind, might be said ; in keeping 
with which is the following : ^' It is good to keep close the 
secret of a king," ^ — in order that the doctrine of the entrance 
of souls into bodies (not, however, that of the transmigration 
from one body into another) may not be thrown before the 
common understanding, nor what is holy given to the dogs, 
nor pearls be cast before swine. For such a procedure would 
be impious, being equivalent to a betrayal of the mysterious 
declarations of God's wisdom, of which it has been well said : 
" Into a malicious soul wisdom shall not enter, nor dwell in a 
body subject to sin." ^ It is sufficient, however, to represent 
in the style of a historic narrative what is intended to convey 
a secret meaning in the garb of history, that those who have 
the capacity may work out for themselves all that relates to the 

Chapter xxx. 

[The narrative, then, may be understood as follows.] All 
the people upon the earth are to be regarded as having used 
one divine language, and so long as they lived harmoniously 
together w^ere preserved in the use of this divine language , 
and they remained w^ithout moving from the east so long as 

1 a6yxv<ng. ^ Cf. Gen. xi. 5-9. 3 cf. Wisd. of Sol. x. 5. 

* Cf . Tobit xii. 7. « Cf. Wisd. of Sol. i. 4. 


they were imbued witli the sentiments of the " h'ght," and of 
the " reflection" of tlie eternal light.-^ But when they departed 
from the east, and began to entertain sentiments alien to those 
of the east/ they found a place in the land of Shinar (which, 
when interpreted, means " gnashing of teeth," by way of indi- 
cating symbolically that they had lost the means of their sup- 
port), and in it they took up their abode. Then, desiring to 
gather together material things,^ and to join to heaven what 
had no natural affinity for it, that by means of material things 
they might conspire against such as were immaterial, they said, 
" Come, let us make bricks, and burn them with fire." Accord- 
ingly, when they had hardened and compacted these materials 
of clay and matter, and had shown their desire to make brick 
into stone, and clay into bitumen, and by these means to build 
a city and a tower, the head of which was, at least in their con- 
ception, to reach up to the heavens, after the manner of the 
" high things which exalt themselves against the knowledge of 
God," each one was handed over (in proportion to the greater 
or less departure from the east which had taken place among 
them, and in proportion to the extent in which bricks had been 
converted into stones, and clay into bitumen, and building 
carried on out of these materials) to angels of character more 
or less severe, and of a nature more or less stern, until they 
had paid the penalty of their daring deeds; and they were 
conducted by those angels, who imprinted on each his native 
language, to the different parts of the earth according to their 
deserts : some, for example, to a region of burning heat, 
others to a country which chastises its inhabitants by its cold ; 
others, again, to a land exceedingly difficult of cultivation, 
others to one less so in degree ; while a fifth were brought into 
a land filled with wild beasts, and a sixth to a country com- 
paratively free of these. 

Chapter xxxi. 

Now, in the next place, if any one has the capacity, let him 
understand that in what assumes the form of history, and wdiich 
contains some things that are literally true, while yet it conveys 

l; hao'j sial rx rov (paro; kuI rov cc-tto (purog di^iov cl7ravya.fT/y.ocroc (ppo- 
•^ovuTSg. ^ di7\.'K6rpia. uuccto'Kuv Cppouovvrsg. ^ to. tsJj i/Ajjj. 


a deeper meaning, those who preserved their original language 
continued, by reason of their not having migrated from the 
east, in possession of the east, and of their eastern language. 
And let him notice, that these alone became the portion of the 
Lord, and His people who were called Jacob, and Israel the 
cord of His inheritance ; and these alone were governed by a 
ruler who did not receive those who were placed under him 
for the purpose of punishment, as was the case with the others. 
Let him also, who has the capacity to perceive as far as mortals 
may, observe that in the body politic^ of those who were 
assigned to the Lord as His pre-eminent portion, sins were 
committed, first of all, such as might be forgiven, and of. 
such a nature as not to make the sinner worthy of entire 
desertion, while subsequently they became more numerous, 
though still of a nature to be pardoned. And while remarking 
that this state of matters continued for a considerable time, 
and that a remedy was always applied, and that after certain 
intervals these persons returned to their duty, let him notice 
that they were given over, in proportion to their transgressions, 
to those to whom had been assigned the other quarters of the 
earth ; and that, after being at first slightly punished, and 
having made atonement,^ they returned, as if they had under- 
gone discipline,^ to their proper habitations. Let him notice also 
that afterwards they were delivered over to rulers of a severer 
character — to Assyrians and Babylonians, as the Scriptures 
would call them. In the next place, notwithstanding that 
means of healing were being applied, let him observe that they 
were still multiplying their transgressions, and that they were 
on that account dispersed into other regions by the rulers of 
the nations that oppressed them. And their own ruler inten- 
tionally overlooked their oppression at the hands of the rulers 
of the other nations, in order that he also with good reason, as 
avenging himself, having obtained power to tear away from 
the other nations as many as he can, may do so, and enact for 
them laws, and point out a manner of life agreeably to which 
they ought to live, that so he may conduct them to the end to 
which those of the former people were conducted who did not 
commit sin. 


Chapter xxxii. 

And by this means let those who have the capacity of com- 
prehending truths so profound, learn that he to whom were 
allotted those who had not formerly sinned is far more power- 
ful than the others, since he has been able to make a selection 
of individuals from the portion of the whole/ and to separate 
them from those who received them for the purpose of punish- 
ment, and to bring them under the influence of laws, and of a 
mode of life which helps to produce an oblivion of their former 
transgressions. But, as we have previously observed, these 
remarks are to be understood as being made by us with a con- 
cealed meaning, by way of pointing out the mistakes of those 
who asserted that '' the various quarters of the earth were from 
the beginning distributed among different superintending spirits, 
and being allotted among certain governing powers, were ad- 
ministered in this w^ay ;" from which statement Celsus took 
occasion to make the remarks referred to. But since those who 
wandered away from the east were delivered over, on account 
of their sins, to " a reprobate mind," and to ^^ vile affections," 
and to " uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts," ^ 
in order that, being sated with sin, they might hate it, we shall 
refuse our assent to the assertion of Celsus, that " because of 
the superintending spirits distributed among the different parts 
of the earth, what is done among each nation is rightly done ; " 
for our desire is to do what is not agreeable to these spirits.^ 
For we see that it is a religious act to do away with the cus- 
toms originally established in the various places by means of 
laws of a better and more divine character, which were enacted 
by Jesus, as one possessed of the greatest power, who has res- 
cued us " from the present evil world," and " from the princes 
of the world that come to nought;" and that it is a mark of 
irreligion not to throw ourselves at the feet of Him who has 
manifested Himself to be holier and more powerful than all 
other rulers, and to whom God said, as the prophets many 
generations before predicted : *^ Ask of me, and I shall give Thee 
the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of 
^ uTTo r^g Traurau fcipilos. 2 Qf^ Rom. i. 24, 26, 28. 


the earth for Thy possession."^ For He, too, has become the 
*^ expectation" of us who from among the heathen have believed 
upon Him, and upon His Father, who is God over all things. 

Chapter xxxiii. 

The remarks which we have made not only answer the 
statements of Celsus regarding the superintending spirits, but 
anticipate in some measure what he afterwards brings forward, 
when he says : " Let the second party come forward ; and I 
shall ask them whence they come, and whom they regard as the 
originator of their ancestral customs. They will reply. No one, 
because they spring from the same source as the Jews them- 
selves, and derive their instruction and superintendence ^ from 
no other quarter, and notwithstanding they have revolted from 
the Jews." Each one of us, then, is come ^' in the last days," 
when one Jesus has visited us, to the " visible mountain of 
the Lord," the Word that is above every word, and to the 
^^ house of God," which is " the church of the living God, the 
pillar and ground of the truth." ^ And we notice how it is 
built upon " the tops of the mountains," i.e. the predictions of 
all the prophets, which are its foundations. And this house 
is exalted above the hills, i.e. those individuals among men who 
make a profession of superior attainments in wisdom and truth; 
and all the nations come to it, and the "many nations" go 
forth, and say to one another, turning to the religion which in 
the last days has shone forth through Jesus Christ : " Come ye, 
and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of 
the God of Jacob ; and He will teach us of His ways, and we 
will walk in them."* For the law came forth from the dwellers 
in Sion, and settled among us as a spiritual law. Moreover, the 
word of the Lord came forth from that very Jerusalem, that it 
might be disseminated through all places, and might judge in 
the midst of the heathen, selecting those whom it sees to be 
submissive, and rejecting^ the disobedient, who are many in 
number. And to those who inquire of us whence we come, 
or who is our founder,® we reply that we are come, agreeably 
to the counsels of Jesus, to " cut down our hostile and inso- 

1 Ps. ii. 8. 2 y^opoarocTYiv. 3 Qf. i Tim. iii. 15. 

* Cf. Isa. ii. 3. ^ i'^h}CV' ^ »p-)c-nyiryiv. 


lent ' wordy ' ^ swords into ploughshares, and to convert into 
pruning-hooks the spears formerly employed in w^ar." ^ For we 
no longer take up '^ sword against nation," nor do we " learn 
war any more," having become children of peace, for the sake 
of Jesus, who is our leader, instead of those whom our fathers 
followed, among whom we were '^ strangers to the covenant," 
and having received a law, for which we give thanks to Him 
that rescued us from the error [of our ways], saying, " Our 
fathers honoured lying idols, and there is not among them one 
that causeth it to rain." ^ Our Superintendent, then, and 
Teacher, having come forth from the Jews, regulates the whole 
world by the w^ord of His teaching. And having made these 
remarks by way of anticipation, we have refuted as well as we 
could the untrue statements of Celsus, by subjoining the 
appropriate answer. 

Chapter xxxiv. 

But, that we may not pass without notice what Celsus has 
said between these and the preceding paragraphs, let us quote 
his words : " We might adduce Herodotus as a witness on this 
point, for he expresses himself as follows: ^ For the people of 
the cities Marea and Apis, who inhabit those parts of Egypt 
that are adjacent to Libya, and who look upon themselves as 
Libyans, and not as Egyptians, finding their sacrificial worship 
oppressive, and wishing not to be excluded from the use of 
cows' flesh, sent to the oracle of Jupiter Ammon, saying that 
there was no relationship between them and the Egyptians, 
that they dwelt outside the Delta, that there was no community 
of sentiment between them and the Egyptians, and that they 
wished to be allowed to partake of all kinds of food. But the 
god would not allow them to do as they desired, saying that that 
country was a part of Egypt, which w^as watered by the inun- 
dation of the Nile, and that those were Egyptians who dwell 

^ avyx.Q^ott roig TroXs^/xotj vjfiZv TioyiKocg ftctxxtpotg xcci v(ipiarix.otg si; 
uporpx, x.oc,t rccg Kotroi ro -Trponpov Tjf^ai'j fzci^ctl^ov ^i/ivuug tig IpsTrxvcc pcsroc- 

2 Cf . Isa. ii. 4. 

* Cf. Jer. xvi. 19 and xiv. 22 : ag -^svlij UTT^aoturo ol TruTSpsg ijfcZu 

tt^afiX, KOt,] OVK iOTllf Iv UVTOlg VSTl^au. 


to the south of the city of Elephantine, and drink of the river 
Nile.' ^ Such is the narrative of Herodotus. But/' continues 
Celsus, " Ammon in divine things would not make a worse am- 
bassador than the angels of the Jews,^ so that there is nothing 
wrong in each nation observing its established method of wor- 
ship. Of a truth, we shall find very great differences prevailing 
among the nations, and yet each seems to deem its own by far 
the best. Those inhabitants of Ethiopia who dwell in Meroe 
worship Jupiter and Bacchus alone ; the Arabians, Urania and 
Bacchus only ; all the Egyptians, Opus and Isis ; the Saites, 
Minerva ; while the Naucratites have recently classed Serapis 
among their deities, and the rest according to their respective 
laws. And some abstain from the flesh of sheep, and others 
from that of crocodiles ; others, again, from that of cows, while 
they regard swine's flesh with loathing. The Scythians, indeed, 
regard it as a noble act to banquet upon human beings. Among 
the Indians, too, there are some who deem themselves discharg- 
ing a holy duty in eating their fathers, and this is mentioned 
in a certain passage by Herodotus. For the sake of credibility, 
I shall again quote his very words, for he writes as follows : 
* For if any one were to make this proposal to all men, viz. 
to bid him select out of all existing laws the best, each would 
choose, after examination, those of his own country. Men 
each consider their own laws much the best, and therefore it 
is not likely that any other than a madman would make these 
things a subject of ridicule. But that such are the conclusions 
of all men regarding the laws, may be determined by many 
other evidences, and especially by the following illustration. 
Darius, during his reign, having summoned before him those 
Greeks who happened to be present at the time, inquired of 
them for how much they would be willing to eat their deceased 
fathers ; their answer was, that for no consideration would they 
do such a thing. After this, Darius summoned those Indians 
who are called Callatians, who are in the habit of eating their 
parents, and asked of them in the presence of these Greeks, 
who learned what passed through an interpreter, for what 

1 Cf. Herodot. ii. 18. 

- d Vi" h[A[/,uy oiihiv ri kukIuu ^latTrpsa/Bsvacct roc Zuif^^outx, ^ oi 'lov^ociaif 


amount of money they would undertake to burn their deceased 
fathers with fire ; on which they raised a loud shout, and bade 
the king say no more.' ^ Such is the way, then, in which these 
matters are regarded. And Pindar appears to me to be right 
in saying that ' law ' is the king of all things." ^ 

Chapter xxxv. 

The argument of Celsus appears to point by these illustra- 
tions to this conclusion : that it is " an obligation incumbent on 
all men to live according to their country's customs, in which 
case they will escape censure; whereas the Christians, who have 
abandoned their native usages, and who are not one nation 
like the Jews, are to be blamed for giving their adherence to 
the teaching of Jesus." Let him then tell us whether it is a 
becoming thing for philosophers, and those who have been 
taught not to yield to superstition, to abandon their country's 
customs, so as to eat of those articles of food which are pro- 
hibited in their respective cities? or whether this proceeding 
of theirs is opposed to what is becoming ? For if, on account 
of their philosophy, and the instructions which they have re- 
ceived against superstition, they should eat, in disregard of 
their native laws, what was interdicted by their fathers, why 
should the Christians (since the gospel requires them not to 
busy themselves about statues and images, or even about any of 
the created works of God, but to ascend on high, and present 
the soul to the Creator), when acting in a similar manner to 
the philosophers, be censured for so doing ? But if, for the 
sake of defending the theses which he has proposed to himself, 
Celsus, or those who think with him, should say, that even one 
who had studied philosophy would keep his country's laws, then 
philosophers in Egypt, for example, would act most ridiculously 
in avoiding the eating of onions, in order to observe their 
country's laws, or certain parts of the body, as the head and 
shoulders, in order not to transgress the traditions of their 
fathers. And I do not speak of those Egyptians who shudder 
with fear at the discharge of wind from the body, because if 
any one of these were to become a philosopher, and still observe 
the laws of his country, he would be a ridiculous philosopher, 
^ iv(pnfisiv i^iu UiMvou. 2 (jf^ Herodot. iii. 38. 



acting very miphilosophically.^ In the same way, then, he y\\\o 
has been led by the gospel to worship the God of all things, and, 
from regard to his country's laws, lingers here below among 
images and statues of men, and does not desire to ascend to the 
Creator, will resemble those who have indeed learned philo- 
sophy, but who are afraid of things which ought to inspire no 
terrors, and who regard it as an act of impiety to eat of those 
thinofs which have been enumerated. 

Chapter xxxvi. 

But what sort of being is this Ammon of Herodotus, w^hose 
words Celsus has quoted, as if by way of demonstrating how 
each one ought to keep his country's laws ? For this Ammon 
would not allow the people of the cities of Marea and Apis, 
who inhabit the districts adjacent to Libya, to treat as a matter 
of indifference the use of cows' flesh, which is a thing not only 
indifferent in its own nature, but which does not prevent a man 
from being noble and virtuous. If Ammon, then, forbade 
the use of cows' flesh, because of the advantage which results 
from the use of the animal in the cultivation of the ground, 
and in addition to this, because it is by the female that the 
breed is increased, the account would possess more plausibility. 
But now he simply requires that those who drink of the Nile 
should observe the laws of the Egyptians regarding kine^ 
And hereupon Celsus, taking occasion to pass a jest upon the 
employment of the angels among the Jews as the ambassadors 
of God, says that " Ammon did not make a worse ambassador 
of divine things than did the angels of the Jews," into the 
meaning of whose words and manifestations he instituted no 
investigation ; otherwise he would have seen, that it is not for 
oxen that God is concerned, even where He may appear to 
legislate for them, or for irrational animals, but that what is 
written for the sake of men, under the appearance of relating 
to irrational animals, contains certain truths of nature.^ Celsus, 
moreover, says that no wrong is committed by any one who 
wishes to observe the religious worship sanctioned by the laws 
of his country ; and it follows, according to his view, that the 
Scythians commit no wTong, when, in conformity with their 

^ yfeAo/oj a,v siyj <ptK6ao(pog d(pt7^6ao(px Trpeirrau. ^ (pvaiohoyiuv. 


country's laws, they eat human beings. And those Indians 
who eat their own fathers are considered, according to Celsus, 
to do a religious, or at least not a wicked act. He adduces, 
indeed, a statement of Herodotus which favours the principle 
that each one ought, from a sense of what is becoming, to obey 
his country's laws ; and he appears to approve of the custom 
of those Indians called Callatians, who in the time of Darius 
devoured their parents, since, on Darius inquiring for how 
great a sum of money they would be willing to lay aside this 
usage, they raised a loud shout, and bade the king say no more. 

Chapter xxxvii. 

As there are, then, generally two laws presented to us, 
the one being the law of nature, of which God would be the 
legislator, and the other being the written law of cities, it is a 
proper thing, when the written law is not opposed to that of 
God, for the citizens not to abandon it under pretext of foreign 
customs ; but when the law of nature, that is, the law of God, 
commands what is opposed to the written law, observe whether 
reason will not tell us to bid a long farewell to the written code, 
and to the desire of its legislators, and to give ourselves up to 
the legislator God, and to choose a life agreeable to His word, 
although in doing so it may be necessary to encounter dangers, 
and countless labours, and even death and dishonour. For 
when there are some laws in harmony with the will of God, 
which are opposed to others which are in force in cities, and 
when it is impracticable to please God (and those who admi- 
nister laws of the kind referred to), it would be absurd to 
contemn those acts by means of wliich we may please the 
Creator of all things, and to select those by which we shall 
become displeasing to God, though we may satisfy unholy laws, 
and those who love them. But since it is reasonable in other 
matters to prefer the law of nature, which is the law of God, 
before the written law, wdiicli has been enacted by men in a 
spirit of opposition to the law of God, why should we not do 
this still more in the case of those laws which relate to God ? 
Neither shall we, like the Ethiopians who inhabit the parts 
about Meroe, worship, as is their pleasure, Jupiter and Bacchus 
only; nor shall we at all reverence Ethiopian gods in the 


Ethiopian manner ; nor, like the Arabians, shall we regard 
Urania and Bacchus alone as divinities ; nor in any degree at 
all deities in which the difference of sex has been a ground 
of distinction (as among the Arabians, who worship Urania as a 
female, and Bacchus as a male deity) ; nor shall we, like all the 
Egyptians, regard Osiris and Isis as gods ; nor shall we enu- 
merate Athena among these, as the Saites are pleased to do. 
And if to the ancient inhabitants of Naucratis it seemed good to 
worship other divinities, while their modern descendants have 
begun quite recently to pay reverence to Serapis, who never was 
a god at all, we shall not on that account assert that a new being 
who was not formerly a god, nor at all known to men, is a deity. 
For the Son of God, " the First-born of all creation," although 
He seemed recently to have become incarnate, is not by any 
means on that account recent. For the Holy Scriptures know 
Him to be the most ancient of all the works of creation ;^ for 
it was to Him that God said regarding the creation of man, 
" Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."^ 

Chapter xxxviii. 

I wish, however, to show how Celsus asserts without any good 
reason, that each one reveres his domestic and native institu- 
tions. For he declares that "those Ethiopians who inhabit 
Meroe know only of two gods, Jupiter and Bacchus, and 
worship these alone ; and that the Arabians also know only of 
two, viz. Bacchus, who is also an Ethiopian deity, and Urania, 
whose worship is confined to them." According to his account, 
neither do the Ethiopians worship Urania, nor the Arabians 
Jupiter. If, then, an Ethiopian were from any accident to 
fall into the hands of the Arabians, and were to be judged 
guilty of impiety because he did not worship Urania, and for 
this reason should incur the danger of death, would it be 
proper for the Ethiopian to die, or to act contrary to his 
country's laws, and do obeisance to Urania ? Now, if it would 
be proper for him to act contrary to the laws of hia country, 
he will do what is not right, so far as the language of Celsus is 
any standard ; while, if he should be led away to death, let him 
show the reasonableness of selecting such a fate. I know not 

^ Tpsa/ivrctroi/ 'Tra.vruv tZ>u lyi/xiovpy/jf^xTau. ^ Cf. Gen. i. 26. 


whether, if the Ethiopian doctrine taught men to philosophize 
on the immortality of the soul, and the honour which is paid to 
religion, they would reverence those as deities who are deemed 
to be such by the laws of the country.^ A similar illustration 
may be employed in the case of the Arabians, if from any 
accident they happened to visit the Ethiopians about Meroe. 
For, having been taught to worship Urania and Bacchus alone, 
they will not worship Jupiter along with the Ethiopians ; and 
if, adjudged guilty of impiety, they should be led away to death, 
let Celsus tell us what it would be reasonable on their part to 
do. And with regard to the fables which relate to Osiris and 
Isis, it is superfluous and out of place at present to enumerate 
them. For although an allegorical meaning may be given to the 
fables, they will nevertheless teach us to offer divine worship to 
cold water, and to the earth, which is subject to men, and all 
the animal creation. For in this way, I presume, they refer 
Osiris to water, and Isis to earth ; while with regard to Serapis 
the accounts are numerous and conflicting, to the effect that 
very recently he appeared in public, agreeably to certain jug- 
gling tricks performed at the desire of Ptolemy, who wished 
to show to the people of Alexandria as it were a visible god. 
[And we have read in the writings of Numenius the Pytha- 
gorean regarding his formation, that he partakes of the essence 
of all the animals and plants that are under the control of 
Qature, that he may appear to have been fashioned into a god. 
Dot by the makers of images alone, with the aid of profane 
mysteries, and juggling tricks employed to invoke demons, but 
Iso by magicians and sorcerers, and those demons who are 
bewitched by their incantations.^ 

Chapter xxxix. 

We must therefore inquire what may be fittingly eaten or 
Qot by the rational and gentle^ animal, which acts always in 

^ This sentence is regarded by Guietus as an interpolation, whicli should 
be struck out of the text. 

^ 'iuoc 16^7] [/,iTu, tZv dn'Xiarau n'hsruu, kuI royj y.ccKovaau 'ha,i{/,ovce.g 
auyyuvsiuu, ov)c ^'^o dyocTi/aoiroTroiau ^ovuv •^ia^ui ^£o;, a/KKd. 
Kui vnto i^uyuv, kuI (pxpf4,u.KcJv, fcul ro)u k'TTuhuig uvruu K^7\.ov^utucou 'hocifAovav. 


conformity with reason ; and not worship at random, sheep, or 
goats, or kine ; to abstain from which is an act of moderation,^ 
.for much advantage is derived by men from these animals.! 
Whereas, is it not the most foohsh of all things to spare croco- 1 
diles, and to treat them as sacred to some fabulous divinity or i 
other ? For it is a mark of exceeding stupidity to spare those 
animals which do not spare us, and to bestow care on those which ; 
make a prey of human beings. But Celsus approves of those 
who, in keeping with the laws of their country, worship and 
tend crocodiles, and not a word does he say against them, while 
the Christians appear deserving of censure, who have been 
taught to loath evil, and to turn away from wicked works, and 
to reverence and honour virtue as being generated by God, 
and as being His Son. For we must not, on account of their 
feminine name and nature, regard wisdom and righteousness as 
females ;^ for these things are in our view the Son of God, as 
His genuine disciple has shown, when he said of Him, " Who 
of God is made to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctifi- 
cation, and redemption."^ And although we may call Him a 
"second" God, let men know that by the term "second God" 
we mean nothing else than a virtue capable of including all 
other virtues, and a reason capable of containing all reason what- 
soever which exists in all things, which have arisen naturally, 
directly, and for the general advantage, and which "reason," 
we say, dwelt in the soul of Jesus, and was united to Him in 
a degree far above all other souls, seeing He alone was enabled 
completely to receive the highest share in the absolute reason, 
and the absolute wisdom, and the absolute righteousness. 

Chapter xl. 

But since, after Celsus had spoken to the above effect of the 
different kinds of laws, he adds the following remark, "Pindar 
appears to me to be correct in saying that law is king of all 
things," let us proceed to discuss this assertion. What law do 
you mean to say, good sir, is " king of all things ? " If you 

^ f^irpiou. * 

^ ov yoip TToepx to ^tjT^vkou ouo^ux, Koti rji ovaice, d'/fheioiv 'jo^:areoy iiuxi tyji/ 

3 Cf. 1 Cor. i. 30. 


mean those which exist in the various cities, then such an asser- 
tion is not true. For all men are not governed by the same 
law. You ought to have said that " laws are kings of all men," 
for in every nation some law is king of all. But if you mean 
that which is law in the proper sense, then it is this which 
is by nature ^' king of all things ; " although there are some 
individuals who, having like robbers abandoned the law, deny 
its validity, and live lives of violence and injustice. We 
Christians, then, who have come to the knowledge of the law 
which is by nature "king of all things," and which is the same 
with the law of God, endeavour to regulate our lives by its 
prescriptions, having bidden a long farewell to those of an un- 
holy kind. 

Chapter xli. 

Let us notice the charges which are next advanced by Celsus, 
in which there is exceedingly little that has reference to the 
Christians, as most of them refer to the Jews. Ilis words are : 
"If, then, in these respects the Jews were carefully to pre- 
serve their own law, they are not to be blamed for so doing, 
but those persons rather who have forsaken their own usages, 
and adopted those of the Jews. And if they pride themselves 
on it, as being possessed of superior wisdom, and keep aloof 
from intercourse with others, as not being equally pure with 
themselves, they have already heard that their doctrine con- 
cerning heaven is not peculiar to them, but, to pass by all 
others, is one which has long ago been received by the Persians, 
as Herodotus somewhere mentions. ^ For they have a custom,' 
lie says, * of going up to the tops of the mountains, and of 
offering sacrifices to Jupiter, giving the name of Jupiter to 
the whole circle of the heavens.'-^ And I think," continues 
Celsus, "that it makes no difference whether you call the 
highest being Zeus, or Zen, or Adonai, or Sabaoth, or Am- 
moun like the Egyptians, or Pappseus like the Scythians. 
Nor would they be deemed at all holier than others in this 
respect, that they observe the rite of circumcision, for this was 
done by the Egyptians and Colchians before them ; nor because 
they abstain from swine's flesh, for the Egyptians practised 
1 Cf. Herodot. i. 135. 


abstinence not only from it, but from the flesh of goats, and 
sheep, and oxen, and fishes as well ; while Pythagoras and his 
disciples do not eat beans, nor anything that contains life. It 
is not probable, however, that they enjoy God's favour, or are 
loved by Him differently from others, or that angels were 
sent from heaven to them alone, as if they had had allotted to 
them ' some region of the blessed,' ^ for we see both themselves 
and the country of which they were deemed worthy. Let this 
band,^ then, take its departure, after paying the penalty of its 
vaunting, not having a knowledge of the great God, but being 
led away and deceived by the artifices of Moses, having become 
his pupil to no good end." 

Chapter xlii. 

It is evident that, by the preceding remarks, Celsus charges 
the Jews with falsely giving themselves out as the chosen por- 
tion of the Supreme God above all other nations. And he 
accuses them of boasting, because they gave out that they knew 
the great God, although they did not really know Him, but 
were led away by the artifices of Moses, and were deceived 
by him, and became his disciples to no good end. Now we 
have in the preceding pages already spoken in part of the 
venerable and distinguished polity of the Jews, when it existed 
amongst them as a symbol of the city of God, and of His 
temple, and of the sacrificial worship offered in it and at the 
altar of sacrifice. But if any one were to turn his attention 
to the meaning of the legislator, and to the constitution which 
he established, and were to examine the various points relating 
to him, and compare them with the present method of worship 
among other nations, there are none which he would admire 
to a greater degree ; because, so far as can be accomplished 
among mortals, everything that was not of advantage to the 
human race was withheld from them, and only those things 
which are useful bestowed. And for this reason they had 
neither gymnastic contests, nor scenic representations, nor horse- 
races ; nor were there among them women who sold their 
beauty to any one who wished to have sexual intercourse with- 
out offspring, and to cast contempt upon the nature of human 


generation. And what an advantage was it to be taught from 
their tender years to ascend above all visible nature, and to 
hold the belief that God was not fixed anywhere within its 
limits, but to look for Him on high, and beyond the sphere of 
all bodily substance ! ^ And how great was the advantage 
which they enjoyed in being instructed almost from their birth, 
and as soon as they could speak,^ in the immortality of the soul, 
and in the existence of courts of justice under the earth, and 
in the rewards provided for those who have lived righteous 
lives! These truths, indeed, were proclaimed in the veil 
of fable to children, and to those whose views of things were 
childish ; while to those who were already occupied in inves- 
tigating the truth, and desirous of making progress therein, 
these fables, so to speak, were transfigured into the truths which 
were concealed within them. And I consider that it was in a 
manner worthy of their name as the " portion of God " that 
they despised all kinds of divination, as that which bewitches 
men to no purpose, and which proceeds rather from wicked 
demons than from anything of a better nature ; and sought the 
knowledge of future events in the souls of those who, owing to 
their high degree of purity, received the spirit of the Supreme 

Chapter xliii. 

But what need is there to point out how agreeable to sound 
reason, and unattended with injury either to master or slave, 
was the law that one of the same faith ^ should not be allowed 
to continue in slavery more than six years ? * The Jews, then, 
cannot be said to preserve their own law in the same points with 
the other nations. For it would be censurable in them, and 
would involve a charge of insensibility to the superiority of 
their law, if they were to believe that they had been legislated 
for in the same way as the other nations among the heathen. 
And although Celsus will not admit it, the Jews nevertheless are 
possessed of a wisdom superior not only to that of the multi- 
>tude, but also of those who have the appearance of philosophers ; 

^ V'TTsp r« aa/icotrci. 2 (jv^uTrT^ripaait rov 'hoyov. 

^ Tou ccTro TU)u ctvrcou opufisuov ^oyfcocrav. 
4 Cf. Ex. xxi. 2 and Jer. xxxiv. 14. 


because those who engage in philosophical pursuits, after the 
utterance of the most venerable philosophical sentiments, fall 
away into the w^orship of idols and demons, whereas the very- 
lowest Jew directs his look to the Supreme God alone ; and 
they do well, indeed, so far as this point is concerned, to pride 
themselves thereon, and to keep aloof from the society of others 
as accursed and impious. And would that they had not sinned, 
and transgressed the law, and slain the prophets in former 
times, and in these latter days conspired against Jesus, that we 
might be in possession of a pattern of a heavenly city which 
even Plato w^ould have sought to describe ; although I doubt 
whether he could have accomplished as much as was done by 
Moses and those who followed him, who nourished a *^ chosen 
generation," and " a holy nation," dedicated to God, with words 
free from all superstition. 

Chapter xliv. 

But as Celsus would compare the venerable customs of the 
Jews with the laws of certain nations, let us proceed to look at 
them. He is of opinion, accordingly, that there is no difference 
between the doctrine regarding " heaven" and that regarding 
" God ; " and he says that " the Persians, like the Jews, offer 
sacrifices to Jupiter upon the tops of the mountains," — not 
observing that, as the Jews were acquainted with one God, so 
they had only one holy house of prayer, and one altar of whole 
burnt-offerings, and one censer for incense, and one high priest 
of God. The Jews, then, had nothing in common with the 
Persians, who ascend the summits of their mountains, which are 
many in number, and offer up sacrifices which have nothing 
in common with those which are regulated by the Mosaic code, 
— in conformity to which the Jewish priests ^^ served unto the 
example and shadow of heavenly things," explaining enigmati- 
cally the object of the law regarding the sacrifices, and the 
things of which these sacrifices were the symbols. The Per- 
sians therefore may call the '^ whole circle of heaven " Jupiter ; 
but we maintain that "the heaven" is neither Jupiter nor God, 
as we indeed know that certain beings of a class inferior to 
God have ascended above the heavens and all visible nature : 
and in this sense we understand the words, "Praise God, ye 


heaven of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens ; 
let them praise the name of the Lord."^ 


Chapter xlv. 

As Celsus, however, is of opinion that it matters nothing 
whether the highest being be called Jupiter, or Zen, or Adonai, 
or Sabaoth, or Ammoun (as the Egyptians term him), or Pap- 
paeus (as the Scythians entitle him), let us discuss the point 
for a little, reminding the reader at the same time of what 
has been said above upon this question, when the language of 
Celsus led us to consider the subject. And now we maintain 
that the nature of names is not, as Aristotle supposes, an enact- 
ment of those who impose them.^ For the languages which 
are prevalent among men do not derive their origin from men, 
as is evident to those who are able to ascertain the nature of 
the charms which are appropriated by the inventors of the lan- 
guages differently, according to the various tongues, and to the 
varying pronunciations of the names, on which we have spoken 
briefly in the preceding pages, remarking that when those names 
which in a certain language were possessed of a natural power 
were translated into another, they were no longer able to accom- 
plish what'they did before when uttered in their native tongues. 
And the same peculiarity is found to apply to men ; for if we 
were to translate the name of one who was called from his 
birth by a certain appellation in the Greek languaore into the 
Egyptian or Roman, or any other tongue, we could not make 
him do or suffer the same things which he would have done or 
suffered under the appellation first bestowed upon him. Nay, 
even if we translated into the Greek language the name of 
an individual who had been originally invoked in the Roman 
tongue, we could not produce the result which the incantation 
professed itself capable of accomplishing had it preserved the 
name first conferred upon him. And if these statements are 
true when spoken of the names of men, what are we to think 
of those which are transferred, for any cause whatever, to 
the Deity ? For example, something is transferred^ from the 

^ Cf. Ps. cxlviii. 4, 5. ^ or/ vj ruu ovoy.otrav (pvaig ov ^siaiuas/ dal uofcoi. 

3 fiiru'hoi,y.(ia,virui yocp t/, ((lip i'mrfiu. In the editions of Hoeschel and 
Spencer, ti is wanting. 


name Abraliam when translated into Greek, and something is 
signified by that of Isaac, and also by that of Jacob; and 
accordingly, if any one, either in an invocation or in swearing 
an oath, were to use the expression, "" the God of Abraham," 
and ^^the God of Isaac," and "the God of Jacob," he would 
produce certain effects, either owing to the nature of these 
names or to their powers, since even demons are vanquished and 
become submissive to him who pronounces these names; whereas 
if we say, " the god of the chosen father of the echo, and the 
god of laughter, and the god of him who strikes with the heel,"^ 
the mention of the name is attended with no result, as is the 
case with other names possessed of no power. And in the same 
way, if we translate the word " Israel " into Greek or any 
other language, we shall produce no result ; but if we retain it 
as it is, and join it to those expressions to which such as are 
skilled in these matters think it ought to be united, there 
would then follow some result from the pronunciation of the 
word which would accord with the professions of those who 
employ such invocations. And we may say the same also of 
the pronunciation of " Sabaoth," a word which is frequently 
employed in incantations ; for if we translate the term into 
" Lord of hosts," or ^' Lord of armies," or " Almighty" (dif- 
ferent acceptations of it having been proposed by the inter- 
preters), we shall accomplish nothing ; whereas if we retain 
the original pronunciation, we shall, as those who are skilled in 
such matters maintain, produce some effect. And the same ob- 
servation holds good of Adonai. If, then, neither ^' Sabaoth" 
nor "Adonai," when rendered into what appears to be their 
meaning in the Greek tongue, can accomplish anything, how 
much less would be the result among those who regard it as 
a matter of indifference whether the highest being be called 
Jupiter, or Zen, or Adonai, or Sabaoth ! 

Chapter xlvi. 

It was for these and similar mysterious reasons, with which 
Moses and the prophets were acquainted, that they forbade the 
name of other gods to be pronounced by him who bethought 

'TtTipviarov. Cf. note in Benedictine ed. 


himself of praying to the one Supreme God alone, or to be re- 
membered by a heart which had been taught to be pure from 
all foolish thoughts and words. And for these reasons we 
should prefer to endure all manner of suffering rather than 
acknowledge Jupiter to be God. For we do not consider 
Jupiter and Sabaoth to be the same, nor Jupiter to be at all 
divine, but that some demon, unfriendly to men and to the true 
God, rejoices under this title.^ And although the Egyptians 
were to hold Ammon before us under threat of death, we 
would rather die than address him as God, it being a name 
used in all probability in certain Egyptian incantations in which 
this demon is invoked. And although the Scythians may call 
Pappseus the supreme God, yet we will not yield our assent to 
this ; granting, indeed, that there is a Supreme Deity, although 
we do not give the name Pappgeus to Him as His proper title, 
but regard it as one which is agreeable to the demon to whom 
was allotted the desert of Scythia, with its people and its 
language. He, however, who gives God His title in the 
Scythian tongue, or in the Egyptian or in any language in 
which he has been brought up, will not be guilty of sin. 

Chapter xlvii. 

Now the reason why circumcision is practised among the 
Jews is not the same as that which explains its existence among 
the Egyptians and Colchians, and therefore it is not to be con- 
sidered the same circumcision. And as he who sacrifices does 
not sacrifice to the same god, although he appears to perform 
the rite of sacrifice in a similar manner, and he who offers up 
prayer does not pray to the same divinity, although he asks the 
same things in his supplication ; so, in the same way, if one per- 
forms the rite of circumcision, it by no means follows that it is 
not a different act from the circumcision performed upon an- 
other. For the purpose, and the law, and the wish of him who 
performs tiie rite, place the act in a different category. But 
that the whole subject may be still better understood, we have 
to remark that the term for "righteousness"^ is the same 
among all the Greeks ; but righteousness is shown to be one 
thing according to the view of Epicurus ; and another accord- 

^ Zocifioucc li rivet x^ipiiv ovtu; cuofcx^ofcsuop. ^ 'hiKXiovvuri. 


ing to the Stoics, who deny the threefold division of the soul ; 
and a different thing again according to the followers of Plato, 
who hold that righteousness is the proper business of the parts 
of the soul.^ And so also the "courage"^ of Epicurus is 
one thing, who would undergo some labours, in order to escape 
from a greater number ; and a different thing that of the 
philosopher of the Porch, who would* choose all virtue for its 
own sake ; and a different thing still that of Plato, who main- 
tains that virtue itself is the act of the irascible part of the soul, 
and who assigns to it a place about the breast.^ And so cir- 
cumcision will be a different thing according to the varying 
opinions of those who undergo it. But on such a subject it is 
unnecessary to speak on this occasion in a treatise like the 
present ; for whoever desires to see what led us to the subject, 
can read what we have said upon it in the Epistle of Paul to 
the Eomans. 

. Chapter xlviii. 
Although the Jews, then, pride themselves on circumcision, 
they will separate it not only from that of the Colchians and 
Egyptians, but also from that of the Arabian Ishmaelites ; and 
yet the latter was derived from their ancestor Abraham, the 
father of Ishmael, who underwent the rite of circumcision along 
with his father. The JeWs say that the circumcision per- 
formed on the eighth day is the principal circumcision, and 
that which is performed according to circumstances is different ; 
and probably it was performed on account of the hostility of 
some angel towards the Jewish nation, who had the power to 
injure such of them as were not circumcised, but was powerless 
against those who had undergone the rite. This may be said to 
appear from what is written in the book of Exodus, where the 
angel before the circumcision of EUezer* was able to work 
against ^ Moses, but could do nothing after his son was circum- 
cised. And when Zipporah had learned this, she took a pebble 
and circumcised her child, and is recorded, according to the 

^ i'b:o7rpo(,yici'j ruv fispZy rvig \pv)c^;. ^ dvhpsiu. 

^ rov 6v^uiK0v fiipovi r^s -^^v^^g (pocaKOurog avro sJuctt dp&TViUi xal ccTroTuaaou- 
rog ccvrfi tot^tov tou 'Trspl rov Sapa,x,oc. 

■* Cf. Ex. iv. 24, 25. Eliezer was one of the two sons of Moses. Cf. Ex. 
xviii. 4. ° hipysh kutoc Muvosas. 


reading of the common copies, to have said, ^^ The blood of my 
child's circumcision is stayed," but according to the Hebrew- 
text, '^A bloody husband art thou to me."^ For she had 
known the story about a certain angel having power before 
the shedding of the blood, but who became powerless through 
the blood of circumcision. For which reason the words were 
addressed to Moses, " A bloody husband art thou to me." But 
these things, which appear rather of a curious nature, and not 
level to the comprehension of the multitude, I have ventured to 
treat at such length ; and now I shall only add, as becomes 
a Christian, one thing more, and shall then pass on to what 
follows. For this angel might have had power, I think, over 
those of the people who were not circumcised, and generally 
over all who worshipped only the Creator ; and this power lasted 
so long as Jesus had not assumed a human body. But when 
He had done this, and had undergone the rite of circumcision in 
His own person, all the power of the angel over those who prac- 
tise the same w^orship, but are not circumcised,^ was abolished ; 
for Jesus reduced it to nought by [the power of] His unspeak- 
able divinity. And therefore His disciples are forbidden to 
circumcise themselves, and are reminded [by the apostle] : ^^ If 
ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." ^ 

Chapter xlix. 

But neither do the Jews pride themselves upon abstaining 
from swine's flesh, as if it were some great thing ; but upon their 
having ascertained the nature of clean and unclean animals, 
and the cause of the distinction, and of swine being classed 
among the unclean. And these distinctions were signs of cer- 
tain things until the advent of Jesus ; after whose coming it 
was said to His disciple, who did not yet comprehend the doc- 
trine concerning these matters, but who said, " Nothing that 
is common or unclean hath entered into my mouth," * ^^ What 
God hath cleansed, call not thou common." It therefore in 
no way affects either the Jews or us that the Egyptian priests 

1 Cf. Ex. iv. 25, 26. 

' Kotra, Tuv h iri ^soas/Sslet. ruvrf] 'TrsptrifcuoyAvav Ivuufiis. Bolierellus 
inserts ^^ before '^^spinf^voy.hay, whicli has been adopted in the text. 
«Gal. v. 2. < Cf . Acts X. U. 


abstain not only from the flesh of swine, but also from that of 
goats, and sheep, and oxen, and fish. But since it is not that 
" which entereth into the mouth that defiles a man," and since 
" meat does not commend us to God," we do not set great store 
on refraining from eating, nor yet are we induced to eat from 
a gluttonous appetite. And therefore, so far as we are con- 
cerned, the followers of Pythagoras, who abstain from all things 
that contain life, may do as they please ; only observe the dif- 
ferent reason for abstaining from things that have life on the 
part of the Pythagoreans and our ascetics. For the former 
abstain on account of the fable about the transmigration of 
souls, as the poet says : 

" And some one, lifting up his beloved son, 
Will slay him after prayer ; how foolish he ! " * 

We, however, when we do abstain, do so because ^^ we keep 
under our body, and bring it into subjection,"^ and desire 
*' to mortify our members that are upon the earth, fornication, 
un cleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence;"^ and we 
use every effort to " mortify the deeds of the flesh." * 

Chapter l. 

Celsus, still expressing his opinion regarding the Jews, says : 
" It is not probable that they are in great favour with God, or 
are regarded by Him with more affection than others, or that 
angels are sent by Him to them alone, as if to them had been 
allotted some region of the blessed. For we may see both the 
people themselves, and the country of which they were deemed 
worthy." We shall refute this, by remarking that it is evident 
that this nation icas in great favour with God, from the fact 
that the God who presides over all things was called the God of 
the Hebrews, even by those who were aliens to our faith. And 
because they were in favour with God, they were not abandoned 
by Him ; ^ but although few in number, they continued to enjoy 

^ x,a,i rig (p'lT^oi/ viou delpccg, 
a^Poc^ii iTTivxofAivog (/.iyoc vvj'yriog. 
— A verse of Empedocles, quoted by Plutarch, de Super stitione^ c. xii. 
Spencer. Cf. note in loc. in Benedictine edition. 

2 Cf . 1 Cor. ix. 27. ^ cf. Col. iii. 5. ^ Cf . Rom. viii. 13. 

^ Kul ug ivloKif^dvyng ys oaou ovk syKxreTni'TrouTQ. The negative particle 
{ovk) is wanting in the editions of Hoeschel and Spencer, but is found in 


the protection of the divine power, so that in the reign of 
Alexander of Macedon they sustained no injury from him, 
although they refused, on account of certain covenants and 
oaths, to take up arms against Darius. They say that on that 
occasion the Jewish high priest, clothed in his sacred robe, 
received obeisance from Alexander, who declared that he had 
beheld an individual arrayed in this fashion, who announced to 
him in his sleep that he was to be the subjugator of the whole 
of Asia. Accordingly, we Christians maintain that " it was 
the fortune of that people in a remarkable degree to enjoy 
God's favour, and to be loved by Him in a way different from 
others ;" but that this economy of things and this divine favour 
were transferred to us, after Jesus had conveyed the power 
which had been manifested among the Jews to those who had 
become converts to Him from among the heathen. And for 
this reason, although the Eomans desired to perpetrate many 
atrocities against the Christians, in order to ensure their ex- 
termination, they were unsuccessful ; for there was a divine 
hand which fought on their behalf, and whose desire it was 
that the word of God should spread from one corner of the 
land of Judea throughout the whole human race. 

Chapter li. 

But seeing that we have answered to the best of our ability 
the charges brought by Celsus against the Jews and their 
doctrine, let us proceed to consider what follows, and to prove 
that it is no empty boast on our part when we make a profes- 
sion of knowing the great God, and that we have not been led 
away by any juggling tricks ^ of Moses (as Celsus imagines), 
or even of our own Saviour Jesus ; but that for a good end we 
listen to the God who speaks in Moses, and have accepted 
Jesus, whom he testifies to be God, as the Son of God, in hope 
of receiving the best rewards if we regulate our lives according 
to His word. And w^e shall willingly pass over what we have 
already stated by way of anticipation on the points, " whence 

the Royal, Basil, and Vatican mss. Guietus would delete caov (which 
emendation has been adopted in the translation), while Boherellus would 
read oaot instead. — EuiEUS. 

^ yoYinicc. 


we came, and who is our leader, and what law proceeded from 
Him." And if Celsus would maintain that there is no differ- 
ence between us and the Egyptians, who worship the goat, or 
the ram, or the crocodile, or the ox, or the river-horse, or the 
dog-faced baboon,-^ or the cat, he can ascertain if it be so, and 
so may any other who thinks alike on the subject. We, how- 
ever, have to the best of our ability defended ourselves at great 
length in the preceding pages on the subject of the honour 
which we render to our Jesus, pointing out that we have found 
the better part ;^ and that in showing that the truth which is 
contained in, the teaching of Jesus Christ is pure and unmixed 
with error, we are not commending ourselves, but our Teacher, 
to whom testimony was borne through many witnesses by the 
Supreme God and the prophetic writings among the Jews, and 
by the very clearness of the case itself, for it is demonstrated 
that He could not have accomplished such mighty works with- 
out the divine help. 

Chapter lii. 

But the statement of Celsus which we wish to examine at 
present is the following : ^' Let us then pass over the refuta- 
tions which miMit be adduced against the claims of their 
teacher, and let him be regarded as really an angel. But is he 
the first and only one who came [to men], or were there others 
before him ? If they should say that he is the only one, they 
would be convicted of telling lies against themselves. For 
they assert that on many occasions others came, and sixty or 
seventy of them together, and that these became wicked, and 
were cast under the earth and punished with chains, and that 
from this source originate the warm springs, which are their 
tears ; and, • moreover, that there came an angel to the tomb 
of this said being — according to some, indeed, one, but accord- 
ing to others, two — who answered the women that he had 
arisen. For the Son of God could not himself, as it seems, 
open the tomb, but needed the help of another to roll away the 
stone. And again, on account of the pregnancy of Mary, 
there came an angel to the carpenter, and once more another 
angel, in order that they might take up the young child and 


flee away [into Egypt]. But what need is there to particularize 
everything, or to count up the number of angels said to have 
been sent to Moses, and others amongst them ? If, then, others 
were sent, it is manifest that he also came from the same God. 
But he may be supposed to have the appearance of announcing 
something of greater importance [than those who preceded 
him], as if the Jews had been committing sin, or corrupting 
their religion, or doing deeds of impiety ; for these things are 
obscurely hinted at." 

Chapter ltii. 

The preceding remarks might suffice as an answer to the 
charges of Celsus, so far as regards those points in which our 
Saviour Jesus Christ is made the subject of special investigation. 
But that we may avoid the appearance of intentionally passing 
over any portion of his work, as if we were unable to meet him, 
let us, even at the risk of being tautological (since we are 
challenged to this by Celsus), endeavour as far as we can 
with all due brevity to continue our discourse, since perhaps 
something either more precise or more novel may occur to us 
upon the several topics. He says, indeed, that *' he has omitted 
the refutations which have been adduced against the claims 
which Christians advance on behalf of their teacher," although 
he has not omitted anything which he w^as able to bring for- 
ward, as is manifest from his previous language, but makes this 
statement only as an empty rhetorical device. That we are 
not refuted, however, on the subject of our great Saviour, 
although the accuser may appear to refute us, will be manifest 
to those who peruse in a spirit of truth-loving investigation all 
that is predicted and recorded of Him. And, in the next place, 
since he considers that he makes a concession in saying of the 
Saviour, ^' Let him appear to be really an angel,". we reply 
that we do not accept of such a concession from Celsus ; but 
we look to the w^ork of Him who came to visit the whole human 
:race in His word and teaching, as each one of His adherents 
was capable of receiving Him. And this was the work of one 
J "who, as the prophecy regarding Him said, was not simply an 
angel, but the " Angel of the great council :"^ for He announced 
1 Cf. Isa. ix. 6. 

324 OniGEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book v. 

to men the great counsel of the God and Father of all things 
regarding them, [saying] of those who yield themselves up to a 
life of pure religion, that they ascend by means of their great 
deeds to God; but of those who do not adhere to Him, that 
they place themselves at a distance from God, and journey on 
to destruction through their unbelief of Him. He then con- 
tinues: ''If even the angel came to men, is he the first and 
only one who came, or did others come on former occasions ? "' 
And he thinks he can meet either of these dilemmas at great 
length, although there is not a single real Christian who asserts 
that Christ was the only being that visited the human race. 
For, as Celsus says, " If they should say the only one,^' there 
are others who appeared to different individuals. 

Chapter liv. , 

In the next place, he proceeds to answer himself as hi 
thinks fit in the following terms : " And so he is not the only 
one who is recorded to have visited the human race, as even 
those who, under pretext of teaching in the name of Jesus 
have apostatized from the Creator as an inferior being, an< 
have given in their adherence to one who is a superior God an( 
father of him who visited [the world], assert that before hin 
certain beings came from the Creator to visit the human race.' 
Now, as it is in the spirit of truth that we investigate all thafi 
relates to the subject, we shall remark that it is asserted by 
Apelles, the celebrated disciple of Marcion, who became the 
founder of a certain sect, and who treated the writings of the 
Jews as fabulous, that Jesus is the only one that came to visit 
the human race. Even against him, then, who maintained that 
Jesus was the only one that came from God to men, it would 
be in vain for Celsus to quote the statements regarding the 
descent of other angels, seeing Apelles discredits, as we have 
already mentioned, the miraculous narratives of the Jewish 
Scriptures ; and much more will he decline to admit what 
Celsus has adduced, from not understanding the contents of the 
book of Enoch. No one, then, convicts us of falsehood, or of 
making contradictory assertions, as if we maintained both that 
our Saviour was the only being that ever came to men, and 
yet that many others came on different occasions. And in a 


most confused manner, moreover, does he adduce, when examin- 
ing the subject of the visits of angels to men, what he has 
derived, without seeing its meaning, from the contents of the 
book of Enoch; for he does not appear to have read the passages 
ill question, nor to have been aware that the books which bear 
tlie name of Enoch do not at all circulate in the churches as 
divine, although it is from this source that he might be sup- 
posed to have obtained the statement, that " sixty or seventy 
anizels descended at the same time, who fell into a state of 

Chapter lv. 

But, that we may grant to him in a spirit of candour what he 
has not discovered in the contents of the book of Genesis, that 
*^ the sons of God, seeing the daughters of men, that they were 
fair, took to them wives of all whom they chose," we shall 
nevertheless even on this point persuade those who are capable 
of understanding the meaning of the prophet, that even before 
us there was one who referred this narrative to the doctrine 
regarding souls, which became possessed with a desire for the 
corporeal life of men, and this in metaphorical language, he 
said, was termed " daughters of men." But whatever may be 
the meaning of the "sons of God desiring to possess the 
daughters of men," it will not at all contribute to prove that 
Jesus was not the only one who visited mankind as an angel, 
and who manifestly became the Saviour and benefactor of all 
those who depart from the flood of wickedness. Then, mixing 
up and confusing whatever he had at any time heard, or had 
anywhere found written — whether held to be of divine origin 
among Christians or not — he adds : *' The sixty or seventy 
who descended together were cast under the earth, and were 
punished with chains." And he quotes (as from the book of 
Enoch, but without naming it) the following : " And hence it 
is that the tears of these angels are warm springs," — a thing 
neither mentioned nor heard of in the churches of God ! For 
no one was ever so foolish as to materialize into human tears 
those which were shed by the angels who had come down from 
heaven. And if it were right to pass a jest upon what is 
advanced against us in a serious spirit by Celsus, we might 


observe that no one would ever have said that hot springs, the 
greater part of which are fresh water, were the tears of the 
angels, since tears are saltish in their nature, unless indeed the 
angels, in the opinion of Celsus, shed tears which are fresh. 

Chaptee lvi. 

Proceeding immediately after to mix up and compare with 
one another things that are dissimilar, and incapable of being 
united, he subjoins to his statement regarding the sixty or 
seventy angels who came down from heaven, and who, accord- 
ing to him, shed fountains of warm water for tears, the 
following : " It is related also that there came to the tomb of 
Jesus himself, according to some, two angels, according to 
others, one ; " having failed to notice, I think, that Matthew and 
Mark speak of one, and Luke and John of two, which state- 
ments are not contradictory. For they who mention " one," 
say that it was he who rolled away the stone from the sepulchre; 
while they who mention " two," refer to those who appeared in 
shining raiment to the women that repaired to the sepulchre, or 
who were seen within sitting in white garments. Each of these 
occurrences might now be demonstrated to have actually taken 
place, and to be indicative of a figurative meaning existing in 
these " phenomena," [and intelligible] to those who were pre- 
pared to behold the resurrection of the Word. Such a task, 
however, does not belong to our present purpose, but rather to. 
an exposition of the gospel. 1 

Chapter lvii. 

Now, that miraculous appearances have sometimes been 
witnessed by human beings, is related by the Greeks ; and not 
only by those of them who might be suspected of composing 
fabulous narratives, but also by those who have given every 
evidence of being genuine philosophers, and of having related 
with perfect truth what had happened to them. Accounts of 
this kind we have read in the writings of Chrysippus of Soli, 
and also some things of the same kind relating to Pythagoras ; 
as well as in some of the more recent writers who lived a very 
short time ago, as in the treatise of Plutarch of Chasronea " on 
the Soul," and in the second book of the work of Numenius 


the Pythagorean on the " Incorruptibility of the Soul." Now, 
when such accounts are related by the Greeks, and especially 
by the philosophers among them, they are not to be received 
with mockery and ridicule, nor to be regarded as fictions and 
fables; but when those who are devoted to the God of all 
tilings, and who endure all kinds of injury, even to death itself, 
rather than allow a falsehood to escape their lips regarding God, 
announce the appearances of angels which they have themselves 
witnessed, they are to be deemed unworthy of belief, and their 
words are not to be regarded as true ! Now it is opposed to 
sound reason to judge in this way whether individuals are 
speaking truth or falsehood. For those who act honestly, only 
after a long and careful examination into the details of a subject, 
slowly and cautiously express their opinion of the veracity or 
falsehood of this or that person wdth regard to the marvels 
which they may relate; since it is the case that neither do all men 
show themselves worthy of belief, nor do all make it distinctly 
evident that they are relating to men only fictions and fables. 
Moreover, resardinsj the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, 
we have this remark to make, that it is not at all wonderful 
if, on such an occasion, either one or two angels should have 
appeared to announce that Jesus had risen from the dead, and 
to provide for the safety of those who believed in such an event 
to the advantage of their souls. Nor does it appear to me at 
all unreasonable, that those Avho believe in the resurrection of 
Jesus, and who manifest, as a fruit of their faith not to be 
lightly esteemed, their possession of a virtuous •"• life, and their 
withdrawal from the flood of evils, should not be unattended by 
angels who lend their help in accomplishing their conversion to 

Chapter lviii. 

But Celsus challenges the account also that an angel rolled 
away the stone from the sepulchre where the body of Jesus 
lay, acting like a lad at school, who should bring a charge 
against any one by help of a string of commonplaces. And, as if 
he had discovered some clever objection to the narrative, he re- 
marks : " The Son of God, then, it appears, could not open his 

^ rou ippufAiyov /3/oz/. 


tombj but required the aid of another to roll away the stone/' 
Now, not to overdo the discussion of this matter, or to have the 
appearance of unreasonably introducing philosophical remarks, 
by explaining the figurative meaning at present, I shall simply 
say of the narrative alone, that it does appear in itself a more 
respectful proceeding, that the servant and inferior should have 
rolled away the stone, than that such an act should have been 
performed by Him whose resurrection was to be for the advan- 
tage of mankind. I do not speak of the desire of those who 
conspired against the Word, and who wished to put Him to death, 
and to show to all men that He was dead and non-existent,^ 
that His tomb should not be opened, in order that no one might 
behold the Word alive after their conspiracy ; but the " Angel 
of God" who came into the world for the salvation of men, 
with the help of another angel, proved more powerful than 
the conspirators, and rolled away the weighty stone, that those 
who deemed the Word to be dead might be convinced that He 
is not with the "departed," but is alive, and precedes those who 
are willing to follow Him, that He may manifest to them those 
truths which come after those which He formerly showed them 
at the time of their first entrance [into the school of Chris- 
tianity], when they were as yet incapable of receiving deeper 
instruction. In the next place, I do not understand what 
advantage he thinks will accrue to his purpose when he ridi- 
cules the account of " the angel's visit to Joseph regarding the 
pregnancy of Mary;" and again, that of the angel to warn 
the parents " to take up the new-born child, whose life was 
in danger, and to flee with it into Egypt." Concerning these 
matters, however, we have in the preceding pages answered 
his statements. But what does Celsus mean by saying, that 
" according to the Scriptures, angels are recorded to have been 
sent to Moses, and others as well ? '^ For it appears to me to 
contribute nothing to his purpose, and especially because none 
of them made any effort to accomplish, as far as in his power, 
the conversion of the human race from their sins. Let it be 
granted, however, that other angels were sent from God, but 
that he came to announce something of greater importance 
[than any others who preceded him] ; and when the Jews had 

^ KXl TO f^.7ihh Tvyxoe-youTX. 


fallen into sin, and corrupted their religion, and had done 
unholy deeds, transferred the kingdom of God to other 
husbandmen, who in all the churches take special care of 
themselves,^ and use every endeavour by means of a holy life, 
and by a doctrine conformable thereto, to win over to the God 
of all things those who would rush away from the teaching of 

Chapter lix. 

Celsus then continues : ^' The Jews accordingly, and these 
(clearly meaning the Christians), have the same God;" and as 
if advancing a proposition which would not be conceded, he 
proceeds to make the following assertion : " It is certain, 
indeed, that the members of the great church ^ admit this, and 
adopt as true the accounts regarding the creation of the world 
which are current among the Jews, viz. concerning the six 
days and the seventh ;" on which day, as the Scripture says, 
God " ceased"* from His works, retiring into the contemplation 
of Himself, but on which, as Celsus says (who does not abide 
by the letter of the history, and who does not understand its 
meaning), God "rested,"^ — a term which is not found in the 
record. With respect, however, to the creation of the world, 
and the " rest^ which is reserved after it for the people of 
God," the subject is extensive, and mystical, and profound, and 
difficult of explanation. In the next place, as it appears to me, 
from a desire to fill up his book, and to give it an appearance 
of importance, he recklessly adds certain statements, such as 
the following, relating to the first man, of whom he says : "• We 
give the same account as do the Jews, and deduce the same 
genealogy from him as they do." However, as regards *^ the 
conspiracies of brothers against one another," we know of none 
such, save that Cain conspired against Abel, and Esau against 
Jacob ; but not Abel against Cain, nor Jacob against Esau : 
for if this had been the case, Celsus would have been correct 

^ ko(.vruu. Guietus would read ecvrZu, to agree with ruu kK-Ahntrtau. 
2 Instead of roig ostto rij? ^ihex.fTKo.'hlocg roij 'ijjo-oy ci<pop,u,c6;, Boherellus con- 
jectures Toiig . . . dcpopy.Zvrcc;, which has been adopted in the translation. 
* roju ecTro f/.iya/hng iKKT^Yiaiscg. * KoiTi'Trocvas!/. 


in saying that we give the same accounts as do the Jews of 
^* the conspiracies of brothers against one another." Let it 
be granted, however, that we speak of the same descent into 
Egypt, as they, and of tlieir return^ thence, which was not a 
" flight,"^ as Celsus considers it to have been, what does that 
avail towards founding an accusation against us or against the 
Jews? Here, indeed, he thought to cast ridicule upon us, 
when, in speaking of the Hebrew people, he termed their 
exodus a "flight ;" but when it was his business to investigate 
the account of the punishments inflicted by God upon Egypt, 
that topic he purposely passed by in silence. 

Chapter lx. 

If, however, it be necessary to express ourselves with pre- 
cision in our answer to Celsus, who thinks that we hold the 
same opinions on the matters in question as do the Jews, we 
would say that we both agree that the books [of Scripture] 
were written by the Spirit of God, but that we do not agree 
about the meaning of their contents; for we do not regulate our 
lives like the Jews, because we are of opinion that the litera 
acceptation of the laws is not that which conveys the meanino 
of the legislation. And we maintain, that " when Moses is read, 
the veil is upon their heart," ^ because the meaning of tin 
law of Moses has been concealed from those who have not 
welcomed^ the way which is by Jesus Christ. But we knovv 
that if one turn to the Lord (for "the Lord is that Spirit") 
the veil being taken away, ^^ he beholds, as in a mirror witl: 
unveiled face, the glory of the Lord" in those thoughts whicl 
are concealed in their literal expression, and to his own glor3 
becomes a participator of the divine glory ; the term ** face ' 
being used figuratively for the " understanding," as one wouk 
call it without a figure, in which is the face of the " innej 
man," filled with light and glory, flowing from the true com- 
prehension of the contents of the law. 

Chapter lxi. 
After the above remarks he proceeds as follows : " Let n( 

^ TYtV tKilQiv evrci'jooou. ~ (pv/Tjv. 

3 2 Cor. iii. 15. "* ccaTrccaxueuoi:. 


one suppose that I am ignorant that some of them will concede 
tliat their God is the same as that of the Jews, while others 
will maintain that he is a different one, to whom the latter is 
in opposition, and that it was from the former that the Son 
came." Now, if he imagine that the existence of numerous 
heresies among the Christians is a ground of accusation against 
Christianity, why, in a similar way, should it not he a ground 
of accusation against philosophy, that the various sects of philo- 
sophers differ from each other, not on small and indifferent 
points, but upon those of the highest importance? Nay, 
medicine also ought to be a subject of attack, on account of 
its many conflicting schools. Let it be admitted, then, that 
there are amongst us some who deny that our God is the same 
as that of the Jews : nevertheless, on that account those are not 
to be blamed who prove from the same Scriptures that one and 
the same Deity is the God of the Jews and of the Gentiles 
alike, as Paul, too, distinctly says, who was a convert from 
Judaism to Christianity, " I thank my God, whom I serve from 
my forefathers with a pure conscience."-^ And let it be 
admitted also, that there is a third class who call certain per- 
sons " carnal," and others " spiritual " (I think he here means 
the followers of Valentinus) : yet what does this avail against 
us, who belong to the church, and who make it an accusation 
against such as hold that certain natures are saved, and that 
others perish in consequence of their natural constitution?^ 
And let it be admitted further, that there are some who give 
themselves out as Gnostics, in the same way as those Epicu- 
reans who call themselves philosophers : yet neither will they 
who annihilate the doctrine of providence be deemed true 
philosophers, nor those true Christians who introduce monstrous 
inventions, which are disapproved of by those who are the dis- 
ciples of Jesus. Let it be admitted, moreover, that there are 
some who accept Jesus, and who boast on that account of being 
Christians, and yet would regulate their lives, like the Jewish 
multitude, in accordance with the Jewish law, — and these are 
the twofold sect of Ebionites, who either acknowledge with us 
that Jesus was born of a virgin, or deny this, and maintain 
that He was begotten like other human beings, — what does 

^ 2 Tiiu. i. 3. 2 ^^ KctruaKiv^g, 


that avail by way of charge against such as belong to the 
church, and whom Celsus has styled "those of the multi- 
tude?"^ He adds, also, that certain of the Christians are 
believers in the Sibyl,^ having probably misunderstood some 
who blamed such as believed in the existence of a prophetic 
Sibyl, and termed those who held this belief Sibyllists. 

Chapter lxii. 

He next pours down upon us a heap of names, saying that 
he knows of the existence of certain Simonians who worship 
Helene, or Helenus, as their teacher, and are called Helenians. 
But it has escaped the notice of Celsus that the Simonians do 
not at all acknowledge Jesus to be the Son of God, but term 
Simon the " power " of God, regarding whom they relate cer- 
tain marvellous stories, saying that he imagined that if he could 
become possessed of similar powers to those with which he 
believed Jesus to be endowed, he too would become as power- 
ful among men as Jesus was amongst the multitude. But 
neither Celsus nor Simon could comprehend how Jesus, like a 
good husbandman of the word of God, was able to sow the 
greater part of Greece, and of barbarian lands, with His 
doctrine, and to fill these countries with words which transform 
the soul from all that is evil, and bring it back to the Creator 
of all things. Celsus knows, moreover, certain Marcellians, 
so called from Marcellina, and Harpocratians from Salome, 
and others who derive their name from Mariamne, and others 
again from Martha. "We, however, who from a love of learn- 
ing examine to the utmost of our ability not only the contents 
of Scripture, and the differences to which they give rise, but 
have also, from love to the truth, investigated as far as we 
could the opinions of philosophers, have never at any time 
met in with these sects. He makes mention also of the Mar- 
cionites, whose leader was Marcion. 

Chapter lxiii. 

In the next place, that he may have the appearance of 
knowing still more than he has yet mentioned, he says, agree- 
ably to his usual custom, that "there are others who have 

^ «^o rev Tz'hrjovg. ^ ^ ^iflvTO^iaTocs. 


wickedly invented some being as their teacher and demon, 
and who wallow about in a great darkness, more unholy and 
accursed than that of the companions of the Egyptian Anti- 
nous." And he seems to me, indeed, in touching on these 
matters, to say with a certain degree of truth, that there are 
certain others who have wickedly invented another demon, and 
who have found him to be their lord, as they wallow about in the 
great darkness of their ignorance. With respect, however, to 
Antinous, who is compared with our Jesus, we shall not repeat 
what we have already said in the preceding pages. " More- 
over," he continues, " these persons utter against one another 
dreadful blasphemies, saying all manner of things shameful 
to be spoken ; nor will they yield in the slightest point for the 
sake of harmony, hating each other with a perfect hatred." 
Now, in answer to this, w^e have already said that in philosophy 
and medicine sects are to be found warring against sects. We, 
however, who are followers of the word of Jesus, and have 
exercised ourselves in thinking, and saying, and doing what is 
in harmony with His words, " when reviled, bless ; being perse- 
cuted, we suffer it ; being defamed, we entreat ;" ^ and we would 
not utter " all manner of things shameful to be spoken" against 
those who have adopted different opinions from ours, but, if 
possible, use every exertion to raise them to a better condition 
through adherence to the Creator alone, and lead them to 
perform every act as those who will [one day] be judged. And 
if those who hold different opinions will not be convinced, we 
observe the injunction laid down for the treatment of such : 
'^ A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, 
reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, 
being condemned of himself."^ Moreover, we who know 
the maxim, *' Blessed are the peacemakers," and this also, 
^^ Blessed are the meek," would not regard with hatred the 
corrupters of Christianity, nor term those who had fallen into 
error Circes and flattering deceivers.^ 

Chapter lxiv. 
Celsus appears to me to have misunderstood the statement of 
^ 1 Cor. iv. 12, 13. 2 Tit. iii. 10. 


the apostle, which declares that " in the latter times some shall 
depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and 
doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their con- 
science seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and com- 
manding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be 
received with thanksgiving of them who believe;"^ and to have 
misunderstood also those who employed these declarations of 
the apostle against such as had corrupted the doctrines of 
Christianity. And it is owing to this cause that Celsus has 
said that " certain among the Christians are called ' cauterized 
in the ears;' "^ and also that some are termed " enigmas,"^ — a 
term which we have never met. The expression " stumbling- 
block"* is, indeed, of frequent occurrence in these writings, — 
an appellation which we are accustomed to apply to those who 
turn away simple persons, and those who are easily deceived, 
from sound doctrine. But neither we, nor, I imagine, any 
other, whether Christian or heretic, know of any who are 
styled Sirens, who betray and deceive,^ and stop their ears, 
and change into swine those whom they delude. And yet this 
man, who affects to know everything, uses such language as 
the following: ^^You may hear," he says, "all those who 
differ so widely, and who assail each other in their disputes 
with the most shameless language, uttering the words, ' The 
world is crucified to me, and I unto the world.' " And this is 
the only phrase which, it appears, Celsus could remember out 
of Paul's writings; and yet why should we not also employ 
innumerable other quotations from the Scriptures, such as, 
" For though w^e do walk in the flesh, we do not war after the 
flesh ; (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but 
mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,) cast- 
ing down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself 
a";ainst the knowledo;e of God % ' 


Chapter lxv. 
But since he asserts that ^^ you may hear all those who differ 

1 Cf. 1 Tim. iv. 1-3. 

Cf. note in Benedictine ed. 
Cf. note in Benedictine ed. 
Jlok'hQV. * t^op^cov^ivocs Kxi aoCpiarpiug. ^ Cf. 2 Cor. X. 3. 

Book v.] OlllGEN AGAINST CELSUS. 335 

so widely saying, ' The world is crucified to me, and I unto the 
world,' " we shall show the falsity of such a statement. For 
there are certain heretical sects which do not receive the 
epistles of the Apostle Paul, as the two sects of Ebionites, and 
those who are termed Encratites. Those, then, who do not 
regard the apostle as a holy and wise man, will not adopt his 
language, and say, " The world is crucified to me, and I unto 
the world." And consequently in this point, too, Celsus is 
guilty of falsehood. He continues, moreover, to linger over the 
accusations which he brings against the diversity of sects which 
exist, but does not appear to me to be accurate in the language 
which he employs, nor to have carefully observed or understood 
how it is that those Christians who have made progress in their 
studies say that they are possessed of greater knowledge than 
the Jews ; and also, whether they acknowledge the same Scrip- 
tures, but interpret them differently, or whether they do not 
recognise these books as divine. For we find both of these views 
prevailing among the sects. He then continues : " Although 
they have no foundation for their doctrine, let us examine 
the system itself ; and, in the first place, let us mention the 
corruptions which they have made through ignorance and mis- 
understanding, when in the discussion of elementary principles 
they express their opinions in the most absurd manner on things 
which they do not understand, such as the following." And 
then, to certain expressions which are continually in the mouths 
of the believers in Christianity, he opposes certain others from 
the writings of the philosophers, with the object of making it 
appear that the noble sentiments which Celsus supposes to be 
used by Christians have been expressed in better and clearer 
language by the philosophers, in order that he might drag 
away to the study of philosophy those who are caught by 
opinions which at once evidence their noble and religious 
character. We shall, however, here terminate the fifth book, 
and begin the sixth with what follows. 


Chapter i. 

|N beginning this our sixth book, we desire, my 
reverend Ambrosius, to answer in it those accusa- 
tions which Celsus brings against the Christians^ 
not, as might be supposed, those objections which 
he has adduced from writers on philosophy. For he has quoted 
a considerable number of passages, chiefly from Plato, and has 
placed alongside of these such declarations of Holy Scripture 
as are fitted to impress even the intelligent mind ; subjoining 
the assertion, that " these things are stated much better among 
the Greeks [than in the Scriptures], and in a manner which is 
free from all exaggerations ^ and promises on the part of God, 
or the Son of God." Now we maintain, that if it is the 
object of the ambassadors of the truth to confer benefits upon 
the greatest possible number, and, so far as they can, to win 
over to its side, through their love to men, every one without 
exception — intelligent as well as simple — not Greeks only, but 
also barbarians (and great, indeed, is the humanity which should 
succeed in converting the rustic and the ignorant^), it is mani- 
fest that they must adopt a style of address fitted to do good 
to all, and to gain over to them men of every sort. Those, on 
the other hand, who turn away^ from the ignorant as being 
mere slaves,* and unable to understand the flowing periods of a 
polished and logical discourse, and so devote their attention solely 
to such as have been brought up amongst literary pursuits,^ 

^ dvuruasug. 

2 'TToT^i) Bs TO '/ifcspou sccu . . . o7os Ti Ti; yivYirdi I'TTtaTpi^Sll/. 
^ 'TToT^'Ka. )(,o^ipsiv (ppuaccvTiq. "* duhpocTrohoig. 

^ Kccl /avj o'ioig n kxtcckovsiu rvjg Iv (ppaasi \6yoiv x.ui ra^si u.'t: uyyiKko- 
fA.kvuv ciKoT^ovdiecg, /xovau i^pouriaocv tojU duurpoi^hTau lu T^oyoi; fcal fAot6'/i- 



confine their views of the public good within very strait and 
narrow limits. 

Chapter it. 

I have made these remarks in reply to the charges which 
Celsus and others bring against the simplicity of the language 
of Scripture, which appears to be thrown into the shade by the 
splendour of polished discourse. For our prophets, and Jesus 
Himself, and His apostles, were careful to adopt -^ a style of 
address which should not merely convey the truth, but which 
should be fitted to gain over the multitude, until each one, 
attracted and led onwards, should ascend as far as he could 
towards the comprehension of those mysteries which are con- 
tained in these apparently simple words. For, if I may venture 
to say so, few have been benefited (if they have indeed been 
benefited at all) by the beautiful and polished style of Plato, and 
those who have written like him ; while, on the contrary, many 
have received advantage from those who wrote and taught in a 
simple and practical manner, and with a view to the wants of 
the multitude. It is easy, indeed, to observe that Plato is found 
only in the hands of those who profess to be literary men ; ^ 
while Epictetus is admired by persons of ordinary capacity, 
who have a desire to be benefited, and who perceive the im- 
provement which may be derived from his writings. Now we . 
make these remarks, not to disparage Plato (for the great world 
of men has found even him useful), but to point out the aim 
of those who said : " And my speech and my preaching was not 
with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of 
! the Spirit and of power, that our faith should not stand in the 
wisdom of men, but in the power of God." ^ For the word of 
God declares that the preaching (although in itself true and 
most worthy of belief) is not sufiicient to reach the human 
heart, unless a certain power be imparted to the speaker from 
God, and a grace appear upon his words ; and it is only by the 
divine agency that this takes place in those who speak effectu- 
ally. The prophet says in the sixty-seventh Psalm, that " the 
Lord w^ill give a word with great power to them who preach." * 

^ VJS160V. 2 (pt-^Q-f^ciyuu, ^ 1 Cor. ii. 4, 5. 

* Such is the reading of the Septuagint version. The Masoretic text has : 


If, then, it should be granted with respect to certain points, 
that the same doctrines are found among the Greeks as in our 
own Scriptures, yet they do not possess the same power of 
attracting and disposing the souls of men to follow them. And 
therefore the disciples of Jesus, men ignorant so far as regards 
Grecian philosophy, yet traversed many countries of the world, 
impressing, agreeably to the desire of the Logos, each one of 
their hearers according to his deserts, so that they received a 
moral amelioration in proportion to the inclination of their will 
to accept of that which is good. 

Chapter hi. 

Let the ancient sages, then, make known their sayings to 
those who are capable of understanding them. Suppose that 
Plato, for example, the son of Ariston, in one of his Epistles, 
is discoursing about the " chief good," and that he says, " The 
chief good can by no means be described in words, but is pro- 
duced by long habit, and bursts forth suddenly as a light in the 
soul, as from a fire which had leapt forth." We, then, on hear- 
ing these w^ords, admit that they are well said, for it is God 
who revealed to men these as well as all other noble expressions. 
And for this reason it is that we maintain that those who have 
entertained correct ideas regarding God, but wdio have not 
offered to Him a w^orship in harmony with the truth, are liable 
to the punishments wdiich fall on sinners. For respecting such 
Paul says in express words : " The wrath of God is revealed 
from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of 
men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness ; because that 
which may be known of God is manifest in them ; for God 
hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him 
from the creation of the w^orld are clearly seen, being under- 
stood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and 
Godhead ; so that they are without excuse : because that, when 
they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were 
thankful ; but became vain in their imaginations, and their 
foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, 
they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible 

" The Lord gave a word ; of tliem who published it there was a great 


God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, 
and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." ^ The truth, then, 
is verily held [in unrighteousness], as our Scriptures testify, 
by those who are of opinion that " tlie chief good cannot be 
described in words," but who assert that, " after long custom 
and familiar usage,^ a light becomes suddenly kindled in the 
|soul, as if by a fire springing forth, and that it now supports 
itself alone." 

Chapter iv. 

Notwithstanding, those who have written in this manner 
regarding the " chief good " will go down to die Piraeus and 
offer prayer to Artemis, as if she were God, and will look 
[with approval] upon the solemn assembly held by ignorant 
men ; and after giving utterance to philosophical remarks of 
such profundity regarding the soul, and describing its passage 
[to a happier world] after a virtuous life, they pass from those 
great topics which God has revealed to them, and adopt mean 
and trifling thoughts, and offer a cock to Esculapius ! ^ And 
ilalthough they had been enabled to form representations both 

!f the "invisible things" of God and of the "archetypal 
orms" of things from the creation of the world, and from [the 
ontemplation of] sensible things, from which they ascend to 
those objects which are comprehended by the understanding 
alone, — and although they had no mean glimpses of His 
^eternal power and Godhead,"* they nevertheless became 
'foolish in their imaginations," and their " foolish heart" was 
involved in darkness and ignorance as to the [true] worship of 
Gro<3. Moreover, we may see those who greatly pride them- 
jelves upon their wisdom and theology worshipping the image 
)f a corruptible man, in lionom\ they say, of Him, and some- 
imes even descending, with the Egyptians, to the worship of 
birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things! And 

1 Cf. Rom. i. 18-23. 

^ tK 'TTo'Khvjg av'jovalug yrjofiivYi; Tspl to Trpxyy.oc ui/ro, KUi rov av^Yi'j. 

8 Cf. Plato, Phxdo. 

* Kul rot dopuTct rov Qsov, kxI rug llsocg (puuTuaSivng d'Tro T7;g x,ri(jsa: roS 
eo0/«oi', KUi rcju uIoGyitcJi/^ «(p' uv uuoe.[ia(i>ovarj sttI roi poovfi>£vcc' riiu rs cc'thiou 
sevrov ovvcc^iu x.u\ hoTYiXX oi/x. dyiyvug tZouTtg, etc. 


although some may appear to have risen above such practices, 
nevertheless they will be found to have changed the truth of 
God into a lie, and to worship and serve the " creature more 
than the Creator." -^ As the wise and learned among the Greeks, 
then, commit errors in the service which they render to God, 
God " chose the foolish things of the world to confound the 
wise ; and base things of the world, and things that are weak, 
and things which are despised, and things which are not, to 
bring to nought things that are ; " ^ and this, truly, " that no 
flesh should glory in the presence of God." Our wise men, 
however, — Moses, the most ancient of them all, and the pro- 
phets who followed him, — knowing that the chief good could 
by no means be described in words, were the first who wrote 
that, as God manifests Himself to the deserving, and to those 
who are qualified to behold Him,^ He appeared to Abraham, 
or to Isaac, or to Jacob. But who He was that appeared, and 
of what form, and in what manner, and like to which. of mortal 
beings,* they have left to be investigated by those who are 
able to show that they resemble those persons to whom God 
showed Himself : for He was seen not by their bodily eyes, 
but by the pure heart. For, according to the declaration of 
our Jesus, " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see 
God."^ ^ ' 

Chapter v. 

But that a light is suddenly kindled in the soul, as by a fire 
leaping forth, is a fact known long ago to our Scriptures ; as 
when the prophet said, " Light ye for yourselves the light of 
knowledge." ^ John also, who lived after him, said, " That 
which was in the Loctos was life, and the life was the liMit of 

1 Rom. i. 25. 2 cf. i Cor. i. 27, 28, 29. 

^ iTrnrihsioi?. 

* Koil Tivi rZu lu vji^lu. Boherellus understands oy.otog^ -which has been 
adopted in the translation. 

5 Cf. Matt. V. 8. 

^ Hos. X. 12. (poirKTUrs kuvrols <Pug yvaasug (LXX.). The Masoretic 
text is, nyi T'J Dsi? ^T'J, where for nj/l (jand time) the Septuagint translator 
apparently read nj)! {knowledge), *i and 1 being interchanged from theii 


men ; " ^ which " true light lighteneth every man that cometh 
into the world " (i,e. the true world, which is perceived by the 
understanding ^), and maketh him a light of the world : " For 
this light shone in our hearts, to give the light of the glorious 
gospel of God in the face of Christ Jesus." ^ And therefore 
that very ancient prophet, who prophesied many generations 
before the reign of Cyrus (for he was older than he by more 
than fourteen generations), expressed himself in these words : 
" The Lord is my light and my salvation : whom shall I fear 'r'* 
and, " Thy law is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my 
path ; " ^ and again, '' The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, 
was manifested towards us ; " ° and, ^' In Thy light we shall 
see light." ^ And the Logos, exhorting us to come to this 
light, says, in the prophecies of Isaiah : " Enlighten thyself, 
enlighten thyself, O Jerusalem ; for thy light is come, and the 
glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." ^ The same prophet 
also, when predicting the advent of Jesus, who was to turn 
away men from the worship of idols, and of images, and of 
demons, says, " To those that sat in the land and shadow of 
death, upon them hath the light arisen ; " ^ and again, ^' The 
people that sat in darkness saw a great light." ^^ Observe now 
the difference between the fine phrases of Plato respecting the 
" chief good," and the declarations of our prophets regarding 
the "light" of the blessed; and notice that the truth as it is 
contained in Plato concerning this subject did not at all help 
his readers to attain to a pure worship of God, nor even him- 
self, who could philosophize so grandly about the " chief good," 
whereas the simple language of the Ploly Scriptures has led to 
their honest readers being filled with a divine spirit ; ^^ and this 
light is nourished within them by the oil, which in a certain 
^arable is said to have preserved the light of the torches of the 
Qve wuse virgins.^^ 

^ Cf. John i. 3, 4. '^ rou d'hyidinou zal uo'/jtou. s Cf, 2 Cor. iv. 6. 

4 Ps. xxvii. 1 (attributed to David). ^ Ps. cxix. 105. 

« Ps. iv. 6 (Heb. " Lift upon us," etc.). ^ Ps. xxxvi. 9. 

8 Cf. Isa. Ix. 1. » Cf. Isa. ix. 2. lo Cf. Isa. ix. 2. 

^1 h6ovaia,V. 12 Gf^ J^Jatt. XXV. 4. 


Chapter vi. 

Seeing, however, that Celsus quotes from an epistle of Plato 
another statement to the following effect, viz. : " If it appeared 
to me that these matters could be adequately explained to the 
multitude in writing and in oral address, what nobler pursuit 
in life could have been followed by me, than to commit to 
writing what was to prove of such advantage to human beings, 
and to lead the nature of all men onwards to the light ? " — let us 
then consider this point briefly, viz. whether or not Plato were 
acquainted with any doctrines more profound than are con- 
tained in his writings, or more divine than those which he has 
left behind him, leaving it to each one to investigate the subject 
according to his ability, while we demonstrate that our prophets 
did know of greater things than any in the Scriptures, but which 
they did not commit to writing. Ezekiel, e.g., received a roll,^ 
written within and without, in which were contained " lamen- 
tations," and " songs," and " denunciations ;"^ but at the com- 
mand of the Logos he swallowed the book, in order that its 
contents might not be written, and so made known to unworthy 
persons. John also is recorded to have seen and done a similar 
thing.^ -N^^y? Paul even heard *^ unspeakable words, which it 
is not lawful for a man to utter."* And it is related of Jesus, 
who was greater than all these, that He conversed with His 
disciples in private, and especially in their secret retreats, con- 
cerning the gospel of God ; but the words which He uttered 
have not been preserved, because it appeared to the evangelists 
that they could not be adequately conveyed to the multitude in 
writing or in speech. And if it were not tiresome to repeat 
the truth regarding these illustrious individuals, I would say 
that they saw better than Plato (by means of the intelligence 
■which they received by the grace of God), what things were to 
be committed to icriting, and how this was to be done, and what 
was by no means to be written to the multitude, and what 
was to be expressed in words, and what was not to be so con- 
veyed. And once more, John, in teaching us the difference 
between what ought to be committed to writing and what not, 

1 x£(pojX/5ot /3;/3A/oy. ^ oycc/; cf. Ezek. ii. 9, 10. 

3 Cf. Apoc. X. 9. * 2 Cor. xii. 4. 


declares that he heard seven thunders instructing him on cer- 
tain matters, and forbidding him to commit their words to 

Chapter vii. 

There might also be found in the writings of Moses and of 
the prophets, who are older not only than Plato, but even than 
Homer and the invention of letters among the Greeks, pas- 
sages worthy of the grace of God bestowed upon them, and 
filled with great thoughts, to which they gave utterance, but 
not because they understood Plato imperfectly, as Celsus ima- 
gines. For how was it possible that they should have heard 
one who was not yet born ? And if any one should apply the 
words of Celsus to the apostles of Jesus, who were younger 
than Plato, say whether it is not on the very face of it an 
incredible assertion, that Paul the tentmaker, and Peter the 
fisherman, and John who left his father's nets, should, through 
misunderstanding the language of Plato in his Epistles, have 
expressed themselves as they have done regarding God ? But 
as -Celsus now, after having often required of us immediate 
assent [to his views], as if he were babbling forth something 
new in addition to what he has already advanced, only repeats 
himself,^ what we have said in reply may suffice. Seeing, how- 
ever, he produces another quotation from Plato, in which he 
asserts that the employment of the method of question and 
answer sheds light on the thoughts of those who philosophize 
like him, let us show from the Holy Scriptures that the word 
of God also encourages us to the practice of dialectics : Solomon, 
e.g.y declaring in one passage, that " instruction unquestioned 
goes astray;"^ and Jesus the son of Sirach, who has left us 
the treatise called " Wisdom," declaring in another, that " the 
knowledge of the unwise is as words that will not stand in- 

^ Cf. Apoc. X. 4. 

xeciyou ri Trxpx rx -Trporspov iipvifcii/oc. Guietus thus amends the passage : 
voX)'.u,Ktg 6i ^0)7 Yii'Kaog d^iov^ivog sv&iag 'Triarsvsiu, ag Koctuou ri •Trctpa. rot 
Trporspov eipyj^uiuoi &pv}\.7\.rj(Tocg, etc. Boherellus would change d^iovf^ivou into 

^ TTcii'^six dvi^sT^syKTog '7r'hxuocrci{ 


vestigation."-^ Our methods of discussion, however, are rather 
of a gentle kind ; for we have learned that he who presides 
over the preaching of the word ought to be able to confute 
gainsayers. But if some continue indolent, and do not train 
themselves so as to attend to the reading of the word, and 
" to search the Scriptures," and, agreeably to the command of 
Jesus, to investigate the meaning of the sacred writings, and 
to ask of God concerning them, and to keep " knocking " at 
what may be closed within them, the Scripture is not on that 
account to be regarded as devoid of wisdom. 

Chapter viii. 

In the next place, after other Platonic declarations, which 
demonstrate that ^' the good " can be known by few, he adds : 
" Since the multitude, being puffed up with a contempt for 
others, which is far from right, and being filled with vain and 
lofty hopes, assert that, because they have come to the know- 
ledge of some venerable doctrines, certain things are true." 
" Yet although Plato predicted these things, he nevertheless does 
not talk marvels,^ nor shut the mouth of those who wish to ask 
him for information on the subject of his promises ; nor does 
he command them to come at once and believe that a God of a 
particular kind exists, and that he has a son of a particular 
nature, who descended [to earth] and conversed with me." 
Now, in answer to this we have to say, that with regard to 
Plato, it is Aristander, I think, who has related that he was not 
the son of Ariston, but of a phantom, which approached Am- 
phictione in the guise of Apollo. And there are several other 
of the followers of Plato who, in their lives of their master, 
have made the same statement. What are we to say, more- 
over, about Pythagoras, who relates the greatest possible 
amount of wonders, and who, in a general assembly of the 
Greeks, showed his ivory thigh, and asserted that he recognised 
the shield which he wore when he was Euphorbus, and who is 
said to have appeared on one day in two different cities ! 
He, moreover, who will declare that what is related of Plato 
and Socrates belongs to the marvellous, will quote the story of 

^ "/vutri; davvirnv, uhti^irccaroi Xoyoi ; cf. Ecclus. xxi. 18. 





the swan which was recommended to Socrates while he was 
asleep, and of the master saying when he met the young man, 
" This, then, was the swan ! "^ Nay, the third eye which Plato 
saw that he himself possessed, he will refer to the category of 
prodigies.^ But occasion for slanderous accusations will never 
be wanting to those who are ill-disposed, and who wish to speak 
evil of what has happened to such as are raised above the 
multitude. Such persons will deride as a fiction even the 
demon of Socrates. We do not, then, relate marvels when we 
narrate the history of Jesus, nor have His genuine disciples 
recorded any such stories of Him ; whereas this Celsus, who 
professes universal knowledge, and who quotes many of the 
sayings of Plato, is, I think, intentionally silent on the dis- 
course concerning the Son of God which is related in Plato's 
epistle to Hermeas and Coriscus. Plato's words are as follows : 
*' And calling to witness the God of all things — the ruler both 
of things present and things to come, father and lord both of 
the ruler and cause — whom, if we are philosophers indeed, we 
shall all clearly know, so far as it is possible for happy human 
beincps to attain such knowledo-e." ^ 

Chapter ix. 

Celsus quotes another saying of Plato to the following 
effect': " It has occurred to me to speak once more upon these 
subjects at greater length, as perhaps I might express my- 
self about them more clearly than I have already done : for 
there is a certain ' real ' cause, which proves a hindrance in the 
way of him who has ventured, even to a slight extent, to write 
on such topics ; and as this has been frequently mentioned by 
me on former occasions, it appears to me that it ought to be 
stated now. In each of existing things, which are necessarily 
employed in the acquisition of knowledge, there are three ele- 

1 The night before Ariston brought Plato to Socrates as his pupil, the 
latter dreamed that a swan from the altar of Cupid alighted on his bosom. 
Cf. Pausanias in Atticis, p. 68. 

2 " Alicubi forsan occurrit : me vero uspiam legisse non memini. Credo 
Platonem per tertium oculum suam TroT^v^uoidiiciu et scientiam, qua ceteris 
anteibat, denotare voluisse." — Spencer. 

» Plato, Epist. vi. 


ments ; knowledge itself is tlie fourth ; and that ought to be 
laid down as the fifth which is both capable of being known 
and is true. Of these, one is ^narne;' the second is ^ word ;' 
the third, ' image ;' the fourth, ' knowledge.' " ^ Now, accord- 
ing to this division, John is introduced before Jesus as the 
voice of one crying in the wilderness, so as to correspond with 
the " name " of Plato ; and the second after John, who is 
pointed out by him, is Jesus, with whom agrees the statement, 
'^ The Word became flesh," and that corresponds to the ^^ word" 
of Plato. Plato terms the third " image ;" but we, who apply 
the expression "image" to something different, would say 
with greater precision, that the mark of the wounds which is 
made in the soul by the word is the Christ which is in each 
one of us, and this mark is impressed by Christ the Word.^ 
And whether Christ, the wisdom which is in those of us 
who are perfect, correspond to the ^* fourth " element — know- 
ledge — will become known to him who has the capacity to 
ascertain it. 

Chapter x. 

He next continues: "You see how Plato, although main- 
taining that [the chief good] cannot be described in words, yet, 
to avoid the appearance of retreating to an irrefutable position, 
subjoins a reason in explanation of this difficulty, as even 
^ nothing'^ might perhaps be explained in words." But as 
Celsus adduces this to prove that we ought not to yield a 
simple assent, but to furnish a reason for our belief, we shall 
quote also the words of Paul, where he says, in censuring tlie 
hasty ^ believer, "unless ye have believed inconsiderately."^ 
Now, through his practice of repeating himself, Cclsus, so far 
as he can, forces us to be guilty of tautology, reiterating, after 
the boastful language which has been quoted, that " Plato is 
not guilty of boasting and falsehood, giving out that he has 
made some new discovery, or that he has come dow^n from 

^ uv £u f^eu, ouo/^a' Zsvrapou Ss, T^oyog' ro Bs rphov, ei^uT^ov' ro tirotprou Ss, 
^ rpxuorepou (P'/iaofiiv sv rri '^v)c^ ytvofisuov fcercc rov T^oyov rZu rpuvy^uroiv 
^ to y.rihh. * dx.^ 'TriarvJovTi. * 1 Cor. X7. 2. 


heaven to announce it, but acknowledges whence these state- 
ments are derived." Now, if one wished to reply to Celsus, 
one might say in answer to such assertions, that even Plato is 
guilty of boasting, w^hen in the Timceus he puts the following 
language in the mouth of Zeus : " Gods of gods, whose creator 
and father I am," and so on. And if any one will defend such 
language on account of the meaning which is conveyed under 
the name of Zeus, thus speaking in the dialogue of Plato, why 
should not he who investigates the meaning of the words of the 
Son of God, or those of the Creator^ in the prophets, express a 
profounder meaning than any conveyed by the words of Zeus 
in the Timceus ? For the characteristic of divinity is the an- 
nouncement of future events, predicted not by human power, 
but shown by the result to be due to a divine spirit in him who 
made the announcement. Accordingly, we do not say to each 
of our hearers, "Believe, first of all, that He whom I intro- 
duce to thee is the Son of God;" but w^e put the gospel before 
each one, as his character and disposition may fit him to receive 
it, inasmuch as we have learned to know " how we ought to 
answer every man." ^ And there are some who are capable of 
receiving nothing more than an exhortation to believe, and to 
these we address that alone ; while we approach others, again, 
as far as possible, in the way of demonstration, by means of 
question and answer. Nor do we at all say, as Celsus scoff- 
ingly alleges,. "Believe that He whom I introduce to thee is 
the Son of God, although He was shamefully bound, and dis- 
gracefully punished, and very recently ^ was most contume- 
liously treated before the eyes of all men ;" neither do we add, 
"Believe it even the more [on that account]." For it is our 
endeavour to state, on each individual point, arguments more 
numerous even than we have brought forward in the preceding 

Chapter xi. 

After this Celsus continues : " If these (meaning the Chris- 
tians) bring forward this person, and others, again, a different 
individual [as the Christ], while the common and ready cry* of 

^ rov Oi^/iAiQvpyou. ^ Cf. Col. iv. 6. ^ )C^h it-eti Trpaviv, 

* X.01U0U OS Truyrcou ij kuI -Trpo^cstpoy. For '<;', Boherellus reads fj. 


all parties is, ^Believe, if thou wilt be saved, or else begone,' 
what shall those do who are in earnest about their salvation? 
Shall they cast the dice, in order to divine whither they may 
betake themselves, and whom they shall join?" Now we shall 
answer this objection in the following manner, as the clearness 
of the case impels us to do. If it had been recorded that 
several individuals had appeared in human life as sons of God 
in the manner in which Jesus did, and if each of them had 
drawn a party of adherents to his side, so that, on account of 
the similarity of the profession [in the case of each individual] 
that he was the Son of God, he to whom his followers bore 
testimony to that effect was an object of dispute, there would 
have been ground for his saying, " If these bring forward this 
person, and others a different individual, while the common and 
, ready cry of all parties is, ^ Believe, if thou wilt be saved, or 
else begone,' "• and so on; whereas it has been proclaimed to 
the entire world that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God who 
visited the human race : for those who, like Celsus, have sup- 
posed that [the acts of Jesus] were a series of prodigies,^ and 
who for that reason wished to perform acts of the same kind," 
that they, too, might gain a similar mastery over the minds of 
men, were convicted of being utter nonentities.^ Such were 
Simon, the Magus of Samaria, and Dositheus, who was a 
native of the same place ; since the former gave out that he 
was the power of God that is called great,^ and the latter that 
he was the Son of God. Now Simonians are found nowhere 
throughout the world ; and yet, in order to gain over to himself 
many followers, Simon freed his disciples from the danger of 
death, which the Christians were taught to prefer, by teach- 
ing them to regard idolatry as a matter of indifference. But 
even at the beginning of their existence the followers of Simon 
were not exposed to persecution. For' that wicked demon who 
was conspiring against the doctrine of Jesus, was well aware 
that none of his own maxims would be weakened by the teach- 

^ oi ya,p 6f/.o!o}g KiAffw vTTo'heclSoyrs; rsrspursi/ddui. The word of^o'ias for- 
merly stood, in the text of Spencer and Ruseus, before nnpurivaQoti^ but 
is properly expunged, as arising from the preceding ofcoi'a;. Boherellus 
remarks : " Forte aliud quid exciderit, verbi gratia, rot rov Inaov.^^ 

^ ripxTSwoiadut. ^ to ovOh. ^ Cf. Acts viii. 10. 


ing of Simon. The Dositlieans, again, even in former times, 
did not rise to any eminence, and now they are completely 
extinguished, so that it is said their whole number does not 
amount to thirty. Judas of Galilee also, as Luke relates in 
the Acts of the Apostles,^ wished to call himself some great 
personage, as did Theudas before him ; but as their doctrine was 
not of God, they were destroyed, and all who obeyed them were 
immediately dispersed. "We do not, then, "cast the dice in 
order to divine whither we shall betake ourselves, and whom 
we shall join," as if there were many claimants able to draw us 
after them by the profession of their having come down from 
God to visit the human race. On these points, however, we 
have said enough. 

Chapter xii. 

Accordingly, let us pass on to another charge made by 
Celsus, who is not even acquainted with the words [of our 
sacred books], but who, from misunderstanding them, has said 
that " we declare the wisdom that is among men to be foolish- 
ness with God ; " Paul having said that " the wisdom of the 
world is foolishness wath God." ^ Celsus says that " the reason 
of this has been stated long ago." And the reason he imagines 
to be, " our desire to win over by means of this saying the 
ignorant and foolish alone." But, as he himself has intimated, 
he has said the same thing before ; and we, to tlie best of our 
ability, replied to it. Notwithstanding this, however, he wished 
to show that this statement was an invention^ of ours, and 
borrowed from the Grecian sages, who declare that human 
wisdom is of one kind, and divine of another. And he quotes 
the words of Heraclitus, Avhere he says in one passage, that 
" man's method of action is not regulated by fixed principles, 
but that of God is ; " * and in another, that "' a foolish man 
listens to a demon, as a boy does to a man." He quotes, more- 
over, the following from the Apology of Socrates, of which 
Plato was the author : " For I, O men of Athens, have obtained 
this name by no other means than by my wisdom. And of 
what sort is this wisdom ? Such, probably, as is human ; for 

1 Cf. Acts V. 36, 37. 2 qi ^ q^^ iii I9 3 ^.^-^oiG^ho-j h^h. 

* ijdos yup dvSpuTTiiov [/,vj ovk 'i-^u yuoiy.x;, hlo'j Bs h/,-'' 

350 OmGEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book vi. 

in tliat respect I venture to think that I am in reality wise." -^ 
Such are the passages adduced by Celsus. But I shall subjoin 
also the following from Plato's letter to Hermeas, and Erastus, 
and Coriscus : " To Erastus and Coriscus I say, although I 
am an old man, that, in addition to this noble knowledge of 
'forms' [wliich they possess], they need a wisdom, with regard 
to the class of wicked and unjust persons, which may serve as 
a protective and repelling force against them. For they are 
inexperienced, in consequence of having passed a large portion 
of their lives with us, who are moderate^ individuals, and not 
wicked. I have accordingly said that they need these things, 
in order that they may not be compelled to neglect the true 
wisdom, and to apply themselves in a greater degree than is 
proper to that which is necessary and human." 

Chapter xiii. 

According to the foregoing, then, the one kind of wisdom is 
human, and the other divine. Now the " human" wisdom is 
that which is termed by us the wisdom of the " world," wdiich 
is '' foolishness with God ; " whereas the " divine" — being dif- 
ferent from the "human," because it is "divine" — comes, 
through -the grace of God who bestows it, to those who have 
evinced their capacity for receiving it, and especially to those 
who, from knowing the difference between either kind of wis- 
dom, say, in their prayers to God, " Even if one among the 
sons of men be perfect, while the wisdom is wanting that comes 
from Thee, he shall be accounted as nothing." ^ We maintain, 
indeed, that "human" wisdom is an exercise for the soul, but 
that "divine" wisdom is the "end," being also termed the 
" strong" meat of the soul by him who has said that " strong 
meat belongeth to them that are perfect,* even those who by 
reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good 
and evil." ^ This opinion, moreover, is truly an ancient one, 
its antiquity not being referred back, as Celsus thinks, merely 
to Heraclitus and Plato. For before these individuals lived, 
the prophets distinguished between the two kinds of wisdom. 
It is sufficient for the present to quote from the words of David 

1 Cf. Plato's Apolog. 2 ^crpicou (Ivrm. ^ Cf. Wisd. of Sol. ix. 6. 

* Ti'Kstoi. ^ Heb. V. 14. 


what he says regarding the man who is wise, according to divine 
wisdom, that " he will not see corruption when he beholds wise 
men dying." ^ Divine wisdom, accordingly, being different 
from faith, is the "first" of the so-called "charismata" of 
God; and the "second" after it — in the estimation of those 
who know how to distinguish such things accurately — is what 
is called " knowledge ; " ^ and the " third " — seeing that even 
the more simple class of men who adhere to the service of God, 
so far as they can, must be saved — is faith. And therefore 
Paul says : "To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, 
to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another 
faith by the same Spirit." ^ And therefore it is no ordinary 
individuals whom you will find to have participated in the 
" divine " wisdom, but the more excellent and distinguished 
among those who have given in their adherence to Chris- 
tianity ; for it is not " to the most ignorant, or servile, or most 
uninstructed of mankind," that one would discourse upon the 
topics relating to the divine wisdom. 

Chapter xiv. 

In designating others by the epithets of "uninstructed, and 
servile, and ignorant," Celsus, I suppose, means those who are 
not acquainted with his laws, nor trained in the branches of 
Greek learning ; while we, on the other hand, deem those to be 
" uninstructed" who are not ashamed to address [supplications] 
to inanimate objects, and to call upon those for health that 
have no strength, and to ask the dead for life, and to entreat 
the helpless for assistance.'* And although some niRy say that 
these objects are not gods, but only imitations and symbols of 
real divinities, nevertheless these very individuals, in imagining 
that the hands of low mechanics^ can frame imitations of 
divinity, are "uninstructed, and servile, and ignorant ;" for we 
assert that the lowest^ among us have been set free from this 
ignorance and want of knowledge, while the most intelligent 

1 Ps. xlix. 9, 10 (LXX.). 2 y.Ziaig. 3 i Cor. xii. 8, 9. 

* rovg /X7I ulaxvuoini'jov; lu tm ro7g d-ipi>xoi; rn-poa'XciT^slu, kxI 'npl yJu vysists 
TO ua6svig iiriKciKovi/.vjctvg^ Tirepl Ze ^avig to uSKpou cl^iovvrag, ^repi Ss STny^ovptcts 
ti d'TTopuTccrcj iy.i7ivo'jrug. 

* (iuvoiiGuy, * Tov? sa)c^rovg. 


can understand and grasp the divine liope. We do not main- 
tain, however, that it is impossible for one v^rho has not been 
trained in earthly v^^isdom to receive the ^^ divine/' but we do 
acknowledge that all human wisdom is " folly " in comparison 
with the " divine." In the next place, instead of endeavouring 
to adduce reasons, as he ought, for his assertions, he terms us 
^^ sorcerers," -^ and asserts that " we flee away with headlong 
speed "^ from the more polished^ class of persons, because they 
are not suitable subjects for our impositions, while we seek to 
decoy * those who are more rustic." Now he did not observe 
that from the very beginning our wise men were trained in the 
external branches of learning : Moses, e.g., in all the wisdom 
of the Egyptians ; Daniel, and Ananias, and Azariah, and 
Mishael, in all Assyrian learning, so that they were found to 
surpass in tenfold degree all the wise men of that country. At 
the present time, moreover, the churches have, in proportion to 
the multitudes [of ordinary believers], a few "wise" men, who 
have come over to them from that wisdom which is said by us 
to be " according to the flesh ; " ^ and they have also some who 
have advanced from it to that wisdom which is " divine." 

Chapter xv. 

Celsus, in the next place, as one who has heard the subject 
of humility greatly talked about,^ but who has not been at the 
pains to understand it,^ would wish to speak evil of that humility 
which is practised among us, and imagines that it is borrowed 
from some words of Plato imperfectly understood, where he 
expresses himself in the Laws as follows : " Now God, according 
to the ancient account, having in Himself both the beginning 
and end and middle of all existing things, proceeds according to 
nature, and marches straight on.^ He is constantly followed by 
justice, which is the avenger of all breaches of the divine law : 
he who is about to become happy follows her closely in humility, 
and becomingly adorned."^ He did not observe, however, that 

^ yoYjTX;. " Trporpo'Truhinu. ^ rov; '^xpisaTspovs. 

^ TraTiivofisv. ^ Of. 1 Cor. i. 26. 

^ ag TTspiYJxyi^ih T« "^spi 70C'^sivQ(Ppoavi/Yig. 

^ (44^ l'^t[/,i7\.Z)g ocvTTiu uo'/jaocg. 

® svdstet 'Tnpui'jit Kocrcl (^vatv TrupxTropsvo/^suog. ^ Plato, de Legibiis, iv. 


ill writers mucli older than Plato the following words occur in 
a prayer : '' Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty, 
neither do I walk in great matters, nor in things too wonderful 
for me ; if I had not been humble," ^ etc. Now these words 
show that he who is of humble mind does not by any means 
humble himself in an unseemly or inauspicious manner, falling 
down upon his knees, or casting himself headlong on the ground, 
putting on the dress of the miserable, or sprinkling himself with 
dust. But he who is of humble mind in the sense of the 
prophet, while " walking in great and wonderful things," which 
are above his capacity — viz. those doctrines that are truly great, 
and those thoughts that are wonderful — " humbles himself 
under the mighty hand of God." If there are some, however, 
who through their stupidity ^ have not clearly understood the 
doctrine of humiliation, and act as they do, it is not our doctrine 
which is to be blamed ; but we must extend our forgiveness to 
the stupidity^ of those who aim at higher things, and owing to 
their fatuity of mlnd^ fail to attain them. He who Is "humble 
and becomingly adorned," is so in a greater degree than Plato's 
*^ humble and becomingly adorned " individual : for he Is be- 
comingly adorned, on the one hand, because " he walks in things 
great and wonderful," which are beyond his capacity; and 
:t humble, on the other hand, because, while being in the midst of 
e 3uch, he yet voluntarily humbles himself, not under any one at 
y random, but under " the mighty hand of God," through Jesus 
d Christ, the teacher of such instruction, *' who did not deem 
le squality with God a thing to be eagerly clung to, but made 
is^imself of no reputation, and took on Him the form of a 
1 servant, and being found in fashion as a man, humbled Himself, 
md became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."* 
>Vnd so great is this doctrine of humiliation, that it has no 
ndinary Individual as its teacher ; but our great Saviour Hlm- 
;elf says : " Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, 
md ye shall find rest for your souls."'' 

1 Ps. cxxxi. 1, 2 (LXX.). The clause, '* If I had not been humble,' 

cems to belong to the following verse. 
- TYi idiurslot. 3 ^i^ ^^y ioiaTi(7f/.6v. 

4 Cf. Phil. ii. 6, 8. « Cf. Matt. xi. 20. 



Chapter xvi. 

In the next place, with regard to the declaration of Jesus 
against rich men, when He said, " It is easier for a camel to go 
through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into 
the kingdom of God,"^ Celsus alleges that this saying manifestly 
proceeded from Plato, and that Jesus perverted the words of 
the philosopher, which were, that '' it was impossible to be dis- 
tinguished for goodness, and at the same time for riches." ^ Now 
who is there that is capable of giving even moderate attention 
to affairs — not merely among the believers on Jesus, but among 
the rest of mankind — that would not laugh at Celsus, on hear- 
ing that Jesus, who was born and brought up among the Jews, 
and was supposed to be the son of Joseph the carpenter, and 
who had not studied literature — not merely that of the Greeks, 
but not even that of the Hebrews — as the truth-loving Scriptures 
testify regarding Him,^ had read Plato, and being pleased with 
the opinion he expressed regarding rich men, to the effect that 
" it was impossible to be distinguished for goodness and riches 
at the same time," had perverted this, and changed it into, " It 
is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for 
a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God !" Now, if Celsus 
had not perused the Gospels in a spirit of hatred and dishke, but 
had been imbued with a love of truth, he would have turned 
his attention to the point why a camel — that one of animals 
which, as regards its physical structure, is crooked — was chosen 
as an object of comparison with a rich man, and what signifi- 
cation the *^ narrow eye of a needle " had for him who saw that 
" strait and narrow was the way that leadeth unto life ;" * and 
to this point also, that this animal, according to the law, is 
described as " unclean," having one element of acceptability, 
viz. that it ruminates, but one of condemnation, viz. that it does- 
not divide the hoof. He would have inquired, moreover, how 
often the camel was adduced as an object of comparison in the 
sacred Scriptures, and in reference to what objects, that he 
might thus ascertain the meaning of the Logos concerning the 

1 Cf. Matt. xix. 24. 2 qi pj^to, v. de Legibus. 

2 Cf. Matt. xiii. 54, Mark vi. 2, and John vii. 15. 
* Cf. Matt. vii. 14. 


rich men. Nor would he have left without examination the 
fact that " the poor " are termed " blessed " by Jesus, while 
" the rich " are designated as " miserable ; " and whether these 
words refer to the rich and poor who are visible to the senses, 
or whether there is any kind of poverty known to the Logos 
which is to be deemed " altogether blessed," and any rich man 
who is to be wholly condemned. For even a common individual 
would not thus indiscriminately have praised the poor, many of 
whom lead most wicked lives. But on this point we have said 

Chapter xvii. 

Since Celsus, moreover, from a desire to depreciate the 
accounts which our Scriptures give of the kingdom of God, 
has quoted none of them, as if they were unworthy of being 
recorded by him (or perhaps because he was unacquainted with 
them), while, on the other hand, he quotes the sayings of 
Plato, both from his Epistles and the Phcedrus, as if these were 
divinely inspired, but our Scriptures were not, let us set forth 
a few points, for the sake of comparison with these plausible 
declarations of Plato, which did not, however, dispose the 
philosopher to worship in a manner worthy of him the Maker 
of all things. For he ought not to have adulterated or polluted 
this worship with what we call ^' idolatry," but what the many 
would describe by the term " superstition." Now, according to 
a Hebrew figure of speech, it is said of God in the eighteenth 
Psalm, that " He made darkness His secret place," ^ to signify 
that those notions which should be worthily entertained of God 
are invisible and unknowable, because God conceals Himself 
in darkness, as it were, from those who cannot endure the splen- 
dours of His knowledge, or are incapable of looking at them, 
partly owing to the pollution of their understanding, which is 
clothed with the body of mortal lowliness, and partly owing 
to its feebler power of comprehending God. And in order that 
it may appear that the knowledge of God has rarely been 
vouchsafed to men, and has been found in very few individuals, 
Moses is related to have entered into the darkness where God 
was.^ And again, wdth regard to Moses it is said : " Moses 
1 Cf. Ps. xviii. 11. 1 Cf. Ex. xx. 21. 


alone shall come near the Lord, but the rest shall not come 
nigh." -^ And again, that the prophet may show the depth of 
the doctrines which relate to God, and which is unattainable 
by those who do not possess the " Spirit which searcheth all 
things, even the deep things of God," he added : " The abyss 
like a garment is His covering."^ ^^7? our Lord and Saviour, 
the Logos of God, manifesting that the greatness of the know- 
ledge of the Father is appropriately comprehended and known 
pre-eminently by Him alone, and in the second' place by those 
whose minds are enlightened by the Logos Himself and God, 
declares : " No man knoweth the Son, but the Father ; neither 
knoweth any man the Father but the Son, and he to whom- 
soever the Son will reveal Him." ^ For no one can worthily 
know the "uncreated"^ and first-born of all created nature like 
the Father who begat Him, nor any one the Father like the 
living Logos, and His Wisdom and Truth. By sharing in Him 
who takes away from the Father what is called '' darkness," 
which He " made His secret place," and " the abyss," which is 
called His *' covering," and in this way unveiling the Father, 
every one knows the Father who^ is capable of knowing Him. . 

Chapter xviii. ' 

I thought it right to quote these few instances from a much 
larger number of passages, in which our sacred writers express 
their ideas regarding God, in order to show that, to those who 
have eyes to behold the venerable character of Scripture, the 
sacred writings of the prophets contain things more worthy of 
reverence than those sayings of Plato which Celsus admires. 
Now the declaration of Plato, quoted by Celsus, runs as fol- 
lows : " All things are around the King of all, and all things 
exist for his sake, and he is the cause of all good things. 
With things of the second rank he is second, and wdth those 
of the third rank he is third. The human soul, accordingly, 

1 Cf. Ex. xxiv. 2. 2 cf. Ps. civ. 6. 3 cf. Matt. xi. 27. 

* dyhriTQu. Locus diligenter notandus, ubi filius e creaturarum numero 
diserte eximitur, dum dyhviTog dicitur. At non dissiinulandum in unico 
Cod. Anglicano secundo legi : roi/ ysuvvirou : cf. Origenianorum, lib. ii. 
qusestio 2, num. 23. — Ru^us. 

* ot/ ttot av %(»pYi yiyvrnKuv. Boherellus proposes oVx/j -T^a-r ocu xupvi^ etc 


is eager to learn what these things are, looking to such things 
as are kindred to itself, none of which is perfect. But as 
regards the King and those things which I mentioned, there is 
nothing which resembles them." ^ I might have mentioned, 
moreover, what is said of those beings which are called seraphim 
by the Hebrews, and described in Isaiah,^ who cover the face 
and feet of God, and of those called cherubim, whom Ezekiel ^ 
has described, and the postures of these, and of the manner in 
which God is said to be borne upon the cherubim. But since 
they are mentioned in a very mysterious manner, on account 
of the unworthy and the indecent, who are unable to enter into 
the great thoughts and venerable nature of theology, I have 
not deemed it becoming to discourse of them in this treatise. 


Celsus in the next place alleges, that " certain Christians, 
having misunderstood the words of Plato, loudly boast of a 
super-celestiar God, thus ascending beyond the heaven of the 
Jews." By these words, indeed, he does not make it clear 
whether they also ascend beyond the God of the Jews, or only 
beyond the heaven by which they swear. It is not our purpose 
at present, however, to speak of those who acknowledge another 
god than the one worshipped by the Jews, but to defend our- 
selves, and to show that it was impossible for the prophets of 
the Jews, whose writings are reckoned among ours, to have 
borrowed anything from Plato, because they were older than 
he. They did not then borrow from him the declaration, that 
" all things are around the King of all, and that all exist on 
account of him;" for we have learned that nobler thoughts 
than these have been uttered by the prophets, by Jesus Him- 
self and His disciples, who have clearly indicated the meaning 
of the spirit that was in them, which was none other than the 
spirit of Christ. Nor was the philosopher the first to present 
to view the " super-celestial" place ; for David long ago brought 
to view the profundity and multitude of the thoughts concern- 
ing God entertained by those who have ascended above visible 
things, when he said in the book of Psalms : *•' Praise God, ye 

1 Cf. Plato, Epist. ii. ad Dionys. 2 Cf. Isa. vi. 2. 

* Cf. Ezek. i. and x. 

358 OniGEN AGAINST CELSUS. [Book vi. 

heaven of heavens ; and ye waters that be above the heavens, 
let them praise the name of the Lord."^ I do not, indeed, deny 
that Plato learned from certain Hebrews the words quoted from 
the Phcedrus, or even, as some have recorded, that he quoted 
them from a perusal of our prophetic writings, when he said : 
" No poet here below has ever sung of the super-celestial place, 
or ever will sing, in a becoming manner," and so on. And in 
the same passage is the following : " For the essence, which is 
both colourless and formless, and which cannot be touched, 
which really exists, is the pilot of the soul, and is beheld by the 
understanding alone ; and around it the genus of true know- 
ledge holds this place." ^ Our Paul, moreover, educated by 
these words, and longing after things " supra-mundane " and 
" super-celestial," and doing his utmost for their sake to attain 
them, says in the second Epistle to the Corinthians : ^' For our 
light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a 
far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ; while we look 
not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are 
not seen : for the things which are seen are temporal ; but 
the thinfTS which are unseen are eternal." ^ 

Chapter xx. 

Now, to those who are capable of understanding him, the 
apostle manifestly presents to view " things which are the 
objects of perception," calling them *Hhings seen;" while he 
terms " unseen," things which are the object of the under- 
standing, and cognisable by it alone. He knows, also, that 
things " seen " and visible are " temporal," but that things 
cognisable by the mind, and "not seen," are "eternal;" and 
desiring to remain in the contemplation of these, and being 
assisted by his earnest longing for them, he deemed all afflic- 
tion as " light " and as " nothing," and during the season of 
afflictions and troubles was not at all bowed down by them, but 
by his contemplation of [divine] things deemed every calamity 
a light thing, seeing we also have " a great High Priest," who 
by the greatness of His power and understanding " has passed 
through the heavens, even Jesus the Son of God," who has 
promised to all that have truly learned divine things, and have 

1 Ps. cxlviii. 4. 2 Cf. Plato in PJixdro. 3 Cf. 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18. 


lived lives in harmony with them, to go before them to the 
things that are supra-mundane ; for His words are : *• That 
where I go, ye may be also." ^ And therefore we hope, after 
the troubles and struggles which we suffer here, to reach the 
highest heavens,^ and receiving, agreeably to the teaching of 
Jesus, the fountains of water that spring up unto eternal life, 
and being filled with the rivers of knowledge,^ shall be united 
with those waters that are said to be above the heavens, and 
which praise His name. And as many of us* as praise Him 
shall not be carried about by the revolution of the heaven, but 
shall be ever engaged in the contemplation of the invisible 
things of God, which are no longer understood by us through 
the things which He hath made from the creation of the world, 
but seeing, as it was expressed by the true disciple of Jesus in 
these words, "then face to face;" ^ and in these, "When that 
which is perfect is come, then that which is in part will be done 
away." ^ 

Chapter xxi. 

The Scriptures which are current in the churches of God do 
not speak of " seven " heavens, or of any definite number at all, 
but they do appear to teach the existence of " heavens," whether 
that means the "spheres" of those bodies which the Greeks call 
"planets," or something more mysterious. Celsus, too, agreeably 
to the opinion of Plato,^ asserts that souls can make their way 
to and from the earth through the planets ; while Moses, our 
most ancient prophet, says that a divine vision was presented to 
the view of our prophet Jacob,^ — a ladder stretching to heaven, 
and the angels of God ascending and descending upon it, and 
the Lord supported ^ upon its top, — obscurely pointing, by this 
matter of the ladder, either to the same truths which Plato had 
in view, or to something greater than these. On this subject 

Cf. JoQn. xiv. 3. 2 ^pQg oix,poig rolg ovpocuol^. 

* -Troretciovs rav dsap'/j^xrau. 

* For oaou yi Bolierellus proposes oao: ys, which is adopted in the trans- 

« Cf. 1 Cor. xiii. 12. 6 cf. 1 Cor. xiii. 10. 

7 Cf. Plato in TiiJiseo, 8 Cf. Gen. xxviii. 12, 13. 

® iTTidTYipiyfAiVOV. 


Philo has composed a treatise which deserves the thoughtful 
and inteHigent investigation of all lovers of truth. 

Chapter xxii. 

After this, Celsus, desiring to exhibit his learning in his 
treatise against us, quotes also certain Persian mysteries, where 
he says ; " These things are obscurely hinted at in the accounts 
of the Persians, and especially in the mysteries of Mithras, 
which are celebrated amongst them. For in the latter there 
is a representation of the two heavenly revolutions, — of the 
movement, viz., of the fixed "^ stars, and of that v;hich takes 
place among the planets, and of the passage of the soul through 
these. The representation is of the following nature : There 
is a ladder with lofty gates,^ and on the top of it an eighth gate. 
The first gate consists of lead, the second of tin, the third of 
copper, the fourth of iron, the fifth of a mixture of metals,^ 
the sixth of silver, and the seventh of gold. The first gate 
they assign to Saturn, indicating by the Mead' the slowness of 
this star ; the second to Venus, comparing her to the splendour 
and softness of tin ; the third to Jupiter, being firm* and solid ; 
the fourth to Mercury, for both Mercury and iron are fit to 
endure all things, and are money -making and laborious;^ 
tlie fifth to Mars, because, being composed of a mixture of 
metals, it is varied and unequal; the sixth, of silver, to the 
^loon ; the seventh, of gold, to the Sun, — thus imitating the 
different colours of the two latter." He next proceeds to 
examine the reason of the stars being arranged in this order, 
which is symbolized by the names of the rest of matter.^ Musical 
reasons, moreover, are added or quoted by the Persian theology; 
and to these, again, he strives to add a second explanation, con- 
nected also with musical considerations. But it seems to me, 
that to quote the language of Celsus upon these matters would 
be absurd, and similar to what he himself has done, when, in 

^ Tsj? T£ ecTrXocvov;. 

- TCh'i^a.^ C'^iTTv'Kog. Boherellus conjectures eTraryAo?. 
^ KipocoTOv uQ^u,i(TfAocTog. ^ T'/jv ^cchKolidiTyiu Kxl crsppdu. 

^ 7'h'/if4,Qvoe. ydp tpyuu acTroiuTav, kxI ■)(,pYi[^cx.ri(JT/i'J^ x.xi 'Tro'hVKjXYirou thxi, ro'y 
TS aChripoi/ kocI rov '^pi^Ti'j. 
^ T'/ig T^oiTT'/j; vXyi;. For v'h'/i;^ another reading is 7rvXr,s. 


his accusations against Christians and Jews, he quoted, most 
inappropriately, not only the words of Plato ; but, dissatisfied 
even with these,^ he adduced in addition the mysteries of the 
Persian Mithras, and the explanation of them. Now, whatever 
be the case with regard to these, — whether the Persians and those 
who conduct the mysteries of Mithras give false or true accounts 
regarding them, — why did he select these for quotation, rather 
than some of the other mysteries, with the explanation of them? 
For the mysteries of Mithras do not appear to be more famous 
among the Greeks than those of Eleusis, or than those in 
Egina, where individuals are initiated in the rites of Hecate. 
But if he must introduce barbarian mysteries with their ex- 
planation, why not rather those of the Egyptians, which are 
highly regarded by many,^ or those of the Cappadocians re- 
garding the Comanian Diana, or those of the Thracians, or 
even those of the Komans themselves, who initiate the noblest 
members of their senate?^ But if he deemed it inappropriate to 
institute a comparison with any of these, because they furnished 
no aid in the way of accusing Jews or Christians, w^hy did it 
not also appear to him inappropriate to adduce the instance of 
the mysteries of Mithras ? 

Chapter xxtii. 

If one wished to obtain means for a profounder contem- 
plation of the entrance of souls into divine things, not from 
the statements of that very insignificant sect from which he 
quoted, but from books — partly those of the Jews, which are 
read in their synagogues, and adopted by Christians, and 
partly from those of Christians alone — let him peruse, at the 
end of Ezekiel's prophecies, the visions beheld by the pro- 
phet, in which gates of different kinds are enumerated,* which 
obscurely refer to the different modes in which divine souls 
enter into a better world ; ^ and let him peruse also, from 
the Apocalypse of John, what is related of the city of 
God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and of its foundations and 

^ For uc iKsivois dpx.ii<j&xt^ Spencer introduced into liis text, ovV Iku'vois 
ApKua6oe,t^ which has been adopted in the translation. 

^ iv oh TToKTiol asf^uvuovrxi. ^ d'Tro tvis afyxAijTOt; /Sct/A^f, 

* Cf. Ezek. xlviii. ^ irri roe. KpsiTTOvou 


gates.-^ And if he is capable of finding out also the road, 
which is indicated by symbols, of those who will march on to 
divine things, let him read the book of Moses entitled Numbers, 
and let him seek the help of one who is capable of initiating him 
into the meaning of the narratives concerning the encampments 
of the children of Israel ; viz. of what sort those were which 
were arranged towards the east, as was the case with the first ; 
and what those towards the south-west and south ; and what 
towards the sea ; and what the last were, which were stationed 
towards the north. For he will see that there is in the respec- 
tive places a meaning^ not to be lightly treated, nor, as Celsus 
imagines, such as calls only for silly and servile listeners : but 
he will distinguish in the encampments certain things relating 
to the numbers that are enumerated, and which are specially 
adapted to each tribe, of which the present does not appear to us 
to be the proper time to speak. Let Celsus know, moreover, as 
well as those who read his book, that in no part of the genuine 
and divinely accredited Scriptures are " seven " heavens men- 
tioned ; neither do our prophets, nor the apostles of Jesus, nor 
the Son of God Himself, repeat anything which they borrowed 
from the Persians or the Cabiri. 

Chapter xxiv. 

After the instance borrowed from the Mithraic mysteries, 
Celsus declares that he who would investigate the Christian 
mysteries, along with the aforesaid Persian, will, on comparing ■■. 
the two together, and on unveiHng the rites of the Christians, 
see in this way the difference between them. Now, wherever he 
was able to give the names of the various sects, he was nothing 
loth to quote those with which he thought himself acquainted ; 
but when he ought most of all to have done this, if they 
were really known to him, and to have informed us which was 
the sect that makes use of the diagram he has drawn, he has 
not done so. It seems to me, however, that it is from some 
statements of a very insignificant sect called Ophites, which he | 
has misunderstood, that, in my opinion, he has partly borrowed t 
what he says about the diagram.^ Now, as we have always been ■ 

^ Cf. Apoc. xxi. 2 ^capyifiuru. 

3 " Utinam exstaret! Multum enim lucis procul dubio antiquissimorum 


animated by a love of learning/ we have fallen in with this 
diagram, and we have found in it the representations of men 
who, as Paul says, " creep into houses, and lead captive silly 
women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts ; ever learn- 
ing, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." ^ 
The diagram was, however, so destitute of all credibility, that 
neither these easily deceived women, nor the most rustic class of 
men, nor those who were ready to be led away by any plausible 
pretender wdiatever, ever gave their assent to the diagram. Nor, 
indeed, have we ever met any individual, although we have 
visited many parts of the earth, and have sought out all those 
who anywhere made profession of knowledge, that placed any 
faith in this diajxram. 

Chapter xxv. 

In this diagram were described ten circles, distinct from each 
other, but united by one circle, which was said to be the soul 
of all things, and was called " Leviathan." ^ This Leviathan, 
the Jewish Scriptures say, whatever they mean by the expres- 
sion, was created by God for a plaything ;* for we find in the 
Psalms : " In wisdom hast Thou made all things : the earth is 
full of Thy creatures ; so is this great and wide sea. There 
go the ships ; small animals with great ; there is this dragon, 
which Thou hast formed to play therein."^ Instead of the 
word "dragon," the term "leviathan" is in the Hebrew. This 
impious diagram, then, said of this leviathan, which is so clearly 
depreciated by the psalmist, that it was the soul which had 
travelled through all things ! We observed, also, in the dia- 
gram, the being named " Behemoth," placed as it were under 
the lowest circle. The inventor of this accursed diagram 
had inscribed this leviathan at its circumference and centre, 
thus placing its name in two separate places. Moreover, 
Celsus says that the diagram was " divided by a thick black 
line, and this line he asserted was called Gehenna, which is 
Tartarus." Now as we found that Gehenna was mentioned 

Patrum libris, priscse ecclesise temporibus, et quibusdam sacrse Scripturse 
locis, accederet."— Spencer. 

^ Koiroi TO (pi'hofcuSss vj^au. 2 (]f^ 2 Tim. iii. 6, 7. 

* Cf. note in Spencer's ed. * Trxiyviov. ^ Cf. Ps. civ. 24-26. 


in the Gospel as a place of punishment, we searched to see 
whether it is mentioned anywhere in the ancient Scriptures, and 
especially because the Jews too use the word. And we ascer- 
tained that where the valley of the son of Ennom was named in 
Scripture in the Hebrew, instead of " valley," with fundamen- 
tally the same meaning, it was termed both the valley of Ennom 
and also Geenna. And continuing our researches, we find that 
what was termed " Geenna," or " the valley of Ennom," was 
included in the lot of the tribe of Benjamin, in which Jeru- 
salem also was situated. And seekinop to ascertain what mi^ht 
be the inference from the heavenly Jerusalem belonging to the 
lot of Benjamin and the valley of Ennom, we find a certain 
•tonfirmation of what is said regarding the place of punishment, 
intended for the purification of such souls as are to be purified 
by torments, agreeably to the saying : " The Lord cometh like 
a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap : and He shall sit as a 
refiner and purifier of silver and of gold." ^ 

Chapter xxvi. 

It is in the precincts of Jerusalem, then, that punishments 
will be inflicted upon those who undergo the process of purifica- 
tion," who have received into the substance of their soul the 
elements of wickedness, which in a certain place ^ is figuratively 
termed *' lead," and on that account iniquity is represented in 
Zechariah as sitting upon a "talent of lead."'' But the remarks 
which might be made on this topic are neither to be made to 
all, nor to be uttered on the present occasion ; for it is not 
unattended with danger to commit to writing the explanation 
of such subjects, seeing the multitude need no further instruc- 
tion than that which relates to the punishment of sinners ; 
while to ascend beyond this is not expedient, for the sake of 
those who are with difficulty restrained, even by fear of eternal ', 
punishment, from plunging into any degree of wickedness, and 
into the flood of evils which result from sin. The doctrine of 
Geenna, then, is unknown both to the Diagram and to Celsus: 
for had it been otherwise, the framers of the former would not 
have boasted of their pictures of animals and diagrams, as if the 

^ Cf. Mai. iii. 2, 3. ^ ;\;;wj/jfo/*i'y<yv. 

8 ::oy. * Cf. Zech. v. 7. 


truth were represented by these ; nor would Celsus, in his trea- 
tise against the Christians, have introduced among the charges 
directed against them statements which they never uttered, 
instead of what was spoken by some who perhaps are no longer 
in existence, but have altogether disappeared, or been reduced 
to a very few individuals, and these easily counted. And as it 
does not beseem those who profess the doctrines of Plato to offer 
a defence of Epicurus and his impious opinions, so neither is 
it for us to defend the diagram, or to refute the accusations 
brought against it by Celsus. We may therefore allow his 
charges on these points to pass as superfluous and useless,^ for 
we would censure more severely than Celsus any who should 
be carried away by such opinions. 

Chapter xxvii. 

After the matter of the Diagram, he brings forward certain 
monstrous statements, in the form of question and answer,^ 
regarding what is called by ecclesiastical writers the " seal," 
statements which did not arise from imperfect information ; 
such as that "he who impresses the seal is called father, and 
he who is sealed is called young man and son ;" and who 
answers, " I have been anointed with white ointment from the 
tree of life," — things which we never heard to have occurred 
even among the heretics. In the next place, he determines 
even the number mentioned by those who deliver over the seal, 
as that " of seven angels, who attach themselves to both sides of 
the soul of the dying body ; the one party being named angels 
of light, the others ^ archontics;'" ^ and he asserts that the 
"ruler of those named *archontics' is termed the * accursed' 
God." Then, laying hold of the expression, he assails, not 
without reason, those who venture to use such lan^uao-e ; and 
on that account we entertain a similar feeling of indignation 
with those who censure such individuals, if indeed there exist 
any who call the God of the Jews — who sends rain and thunder, 
\ and who is the Creator of this world, and the God of Moses, and 
of the cosmogony which he records — an " accursed " divinity. 
Celsus, however, appears to have had in view, in employing 


these expressions, not a rational^ object, but one of a most 
irrational kind, arising out of his hatred towards us, which is 
so unUke a philosopher. For his aim was, that those who are 
unacquainted with our customs should, on perusing his treatise, 
at once assail us as if we called the noble Creator of this world 
an " accursed divinity." He appears to me, indeed, to have 
acted like those Jews w^ho, when Christianity began to be first 
preached, scattered abroad false reports of the gospel, such as 
that " Christians offered up an infant in sacrifice, and partook 
of its flesh;" and again, ^'that the professors of Christianity, 
wishing to do the ^ works of darkness,' used to extinguish the 
lights [in their meetings], and each one to have sexual inter- 
course with any woman whom he chanced to meet." These 
calumnies have long exercised, although unreasonably, an influ- 
ence over the minds of very many, leading those who are aliens 
to the gospel to believe that Christians are men of such a 
character ; and even at the present day they mislead some, and 
prevent them from entering even into the simple intercourse of 
conversation with those who are Christians. 

Chapter xxviii. 

With some such object as this in view does Celsus seem to 
have been actuated, when he alleged that Christians term the 
Creator an ^^ accursed divinity;" in order that he who believes 
these charges of his against us, should, if possible, arise and 
exterminate the Christians as the most impious of mankind. 
Confusing, moreover, things that are distinct,^ he states also 
the reason why the God of the Mosaic cosmogony is termed 
" accursed," asserting that '' such is his character, and worthy 
of execration in the opinion of those who so regard him, inas- 
much as he pronounced a curse upon the serpent, who intro- 
duced the first human beings to the knowledge of good and 
evil." Now he ought to have known that those who have 
espoused the cause of the serpent, because he gave good advice 
to the first human beings, and who go far beyond the Titans and 
Giants of fable, and are on this account called Ophites, are so 
far from being Christians, that they bring accusations against 

^ oiiK iiiyvay^o'j uiKKcc . . . 'ttu.uv dyuaf^oviaruTOV. 
2 (pupciit 0£ rx 'Tvpuyyot.Tcc. 


Jesus to as great a degree as Celsus himself ; and they do not 
admit any one into their assembly^ until he has uttered male- 
dictions against Jesus. See, then, how irrational is the pro- 
cedure of Celsus, who, in his discourse against the Christians, 
represents as such those who will not even listen to the name of 
Jesus, or admit even that He was a wise man, or a person of 
virtuous^ character ! What, then, could evince greater folly or 
madness, not only on the part of those who wish to derive their 
name from the serpent as the author of good,^ but also on the 
part of Celsus, who thinks that the accusations with which the 
Ophites* are charged, are chargeable also against the Christians! 
Long ago, indeed, that Greek philosopher who preferred a state 
of poverty,^ and who exhibited the pattern of a happy life, 
showing that he was not excluded from happiness although he 
was possessed of nothing,^ termed himself a Cynic ; while these 
impious wretches, as not being human beings, whose enemy 
the serpent is, but as being serpents, pride themselves upon 
being called Ophites from the serpent, which is an animal 
most hostile to and greatly dreaded by man, and boast of one 
Euphrates^ as the introducer of these unhallowed opinions. 

Chapter xxix. 

In the next place, as if it were the Christians whom he was 
calumniating, he continues his accusations against those who 
termed the God of Moses and of his law an " accursed" divinity ; 
and imagining that it is the Christians who so speak, he ex- 
presses himself thus : ^' What could be more foolish or insane 
than such senseless^ wisdom ? For what blunder has the Jewish 
lawgiver committed? and why do you accept, by means, as 
you say,^ of a certain allegorical and typical method of inter- 
pretation, the cosmogony which he gives, and the law of the 
Jews, while it is with unwilHngness, O most impious man, that 

^ avusdptov. - fierpios roc ^h- ^ dpx'/iyov ruu kcc'Ku'j. 

* 'O(pioc,voi\ cf. Irenseus, vol. i. pp. 104-112 (Ante-Niceiie Library). 

^ "Euphraten hujus hseresis auctorem solus Origenes tradit."— Spencer; 
cf. note in Spencer's ed. 
. * dvxta&YiTov. 9 Boherellus proposes (pris for the textual reading (pr.ijt. 


you give praise to the Creator of the world, who promised to 
give tliem all thhigs ; who promised to multiply their race to 
the ends of the earth, and to raise them up from the dead 
with the same flesh and blood, and who gave inspiration ^ to 
their prophets; and, again, you slander Him ! When you feel 
the force of such considerations, indeed, you acknowledge that 
you worship the same God ; but when your teacher Jesus and 
the Jewish Moses give contradictory decisions," you seek another 
God, instead of Him, and the Father!" Now, by such state- 
ments, this illustrious philosopher Celsus distinctly slanders the 
Christians, aserting that, when the Jews press them hard, they 
acknowledge the same God as they do ; but that when Jesus 
legislates differently from Moses, they seek another god instead 
of Him. Now, whether we are conversing with the Jews, or 
are alone with ourselves, we know of only one and the same 
God, whom the Jews also worshipped of old time, and still pro- 
fess to worship as God, and we are guilty of no impiety towards 
Him. We do not assert, however, that God will raise men 
from the dead with the same flesh and blood, as has been shown 
in the preceding pages ; for we do not maintain that the natural"^ 
body, which is sown in corruption, and in dishonour, and in 
weakness, will rise again such as it was sown. On such sub- 
jects, however, we have spoken at adequate length in the fore- 
going pages. 

Chapter xxx. 

He next returns to the subject of the Seven ruling Demons,'* 
whose names are not found among Christians, but who, I think, 
are accepted by the Ophites. We found, indeed, that in the 
Diagram, which on their account we procured a sight of, the 
same order was laid down as that which Celsus has given. 
Celsus says that ^' the goat was shaped like a lion," not men- 
tioning the name given him by those who are truly the most 
impious of individuals; whereas ive discovered that He who is 
honoured in Holy Scripture as the angel of the Creator is called 

^ Kotl ro7g T/poHP'/jru:; l^Trvioyrcc. 

^ or ecu Zi rot suuuricc 6 ao; ^ihuax.u.'Ko; ^Iriofovg, kxI 6 ^lovZxlav "Mu'Ca^g, vofio- 
^ -^v-^ciKov. * Cf. Spencer's note, as quoted in Benedictine ed. 


by this accursed Diagram Michael the Lion-like. Again, 
Celsus says that the " second in order is a bull ; " whereas the 
Diagram which we possessed made him to be Suriel, the bull- 
like. Further, Celsus termed the third " an amphibious sort 
of animal, and one that hissed frightfully;" while the Diagram 
described the third as Raphael, the serpent-like. Moreover, 
Celsus asserted that the " fourth had the form of an eagle ; " 
the Diagram representing him as Gabriel, the eagle-like. Again, 
the " fifth," according to Celsus, " had the countenance of a 
bear ;" and this, according to the Diagram, was Thauthabaoth,^ 
the bear-like. Celsus continues his account, that the " sixth 
was described as having the face of a dog;" and him the 
Diagram called Erataoth. The '' seventh," he adds, " had the 
countenance of an ass, and was named Thaphabaoth or Onoel;" 
whereas we discovered that in the Diagram he is called Onoel, 
or Thartharaoth, being somewhat asinine in appearance. We 
have thought it proper to be exact in stating these matters, that 
we might not appear to be ignorant of those things which Cel- 
sus professed to know, but that we Christians, knowing them 
better than he, may demonstrate that these are not the words 
of Christians, but of those who are altogether alienated from 
salvation, and who neither acknowledge Jesus as Saviour, nor 
God, nor teacher, nor Son of God. 

Chapter xxxi. 

Moreover, if any one would wish to become acquainted with 
the artifices of those sorcerers, through which they desire to 
ead men away by their teaching (as if they possessed the know- 
edge of certain secret rites), but are not at all successful in so 
Icing, let him listen to the instruction which they receive after 
massing through what is termed the " fence of wickedness,"^ — 
gates which are subjected to the world of ruling spirits.^ [The 
following, then, is the manner in which they proceed] : " I 

!^ " Nescio, an hseresium Scriptores hujus Thauthabaoth, Erataoth, Tha- 
Dhabaoth, Onoeles, et Thartharaoth, usquam meminerint. Hujus generis 
'ocabula innumera invenies apud Epiphan. Hxr. 31, quae est Valentini- 
Lorum, pp. 165-171," — Spencer. 
^ (ppuyfAoy KscKi'x;. 
® 'Tcv'hug dp^coyrav aiavt ^ihi[4.i<joc,g» 
ORIG. — VOL. II. 2 A 


salute the one-formed-^ king, the bond of blindness, complete- 
oblivion, the first power, preserved by the spirit of providence 
and by wisdom, from whom I am sent forth pure, being already 
part of the light of the son and of the father : grace be with mo ; 
yea, O father, let it be with me." They say also that the begin- 
nings of the Ogdoad ^ are derived from this. In tlie next place, 
they are taught to say as follows, while passing through what 
they call laldabaoth : *' Thou, O first and seventh, w^ho art born 
to command with confidence, thou, O laldabaoth, who art the 
rational ruler of a pure mind, and a perfect work to son and 
father, bearing the symbol of life in the character of a type, and 
opening to the w^orld the gate which thou didst close against 
thy kingdom, I pass again in freedom through thy realm. Let 
grace be with me ; yea, O father, let it be with me." They 
say, moreover, that the star Phsenon* is in sympathy^ with tlic^ 
lion-like ruler. They next imagine that he who has passed 
through laldabaoth and arrived at lao ought thus to speak : 
" Thou, O second lao, who shinest by night,*^ who art the rul 
of the secret mysteries of son and father, first prince of deatL. 
and portion of the innocent, bearing now mine own beard as 
symbol, I am ready to pass through thy realm, having strength- 
ened him who is born of thee by the living w^ord. Grace b« 
with me ; father, let it be with me." They next come to Sabaol 
to whom they think the following should be addressed : ^' O 
governor of the fifth realm, powerful Sabaoth, defender of the 
law of thy creatures, who are liberated by thy grace througli 
the help of a more powerful Pentad,^ admit me, seeing 1/ 
faultless symbol of their art, preserved by the stamp of an 
image, a body liberated by a Pentad. Let grace be with me, 
O father, let grace be with me." And after Sabaoth they 
come to Astaphseus, to whom they believe the following prayer 
should be offered : " O Astaphseus, ruler of the third gate, 

^ f^ovoTpo'Tov. ^ TiTjdyjy oixsplaKS'Trrov. 

3 'OyBoaSo?. Cf. TertuUian, de prasscript. adv. Hsereticos, c. 33 {Ante- 
Nicene Library ; Writings of Tertullian, vol. ii. p. 39), and other references 
in Benedictine ed. 

* <^uiva!f. " Ea, quse Saturni stella dicitur, ^»ivay a Grsecis dicitur."— 
Cicero, de Nat. Deorum, book ii. 


overseer of the first principle of water, look upon me as one of 
thine initiated/ admit me who am purified with the spirit of a 
virgin, thou who seest the essence of the world. Let grace be 
with me, O father, let grace be with me." After him comes 
Aloseus, who is to be thus addressed : ^^ O Aloaeus, governor 
of the second gate, let me pass, seeing I bring to thee the sym- 
bol of thy mother, a grace which is hidden by the powers of 
the realms.^ Let grace be with me, O father, let it be with 
me." And last of all they name Horseus, and think that the 
following prayer ought to be offered to him : " Thou who didst 
fearlessly overleap the rampart of fire, O Horseus, who didst 
obtain the government of the first gate, let me pass, seeing 
thou beholdest the symbol of thine own power, sculptured^ on 
the figure of the tree of life, and formed after this image, in 
the likeness of innocence. Let grace be with me, O father, 
let grace be with me." 

Chapter xxxii. 

The supposed great learning of Celsus, which is composed, 
however, rather of curious trifles and silly talk than anything 
else, has made us touch upon these topics, from a wish to show 
to every one who peruses his treatise and our reply, that we have 
no lack of information on those subjects, from which he takes 
occasion to calumniate the Christians, who neither are acquainted 
with, nor concern themselves about, such matters. For we, too, 
desired both to learn and set forth these things, in order that 
sorcerers might not, under pretext of knowing more than we, 
delude those who are easily carried away by the glitter* of 
names. And I could have given many more illustrations to 
show that we are acquainted with the opinions of these de- 
luders,^ and that we disown them, as being alien to ours, and 
impious, and not in harmony with the doctrines of true Chris- 
tians, of which we are ready to make confession even to the 
death. It must be noticed, too, that those who have drawn up 
this array of fictions, have, from neither understanding magic, 

3 For KXTuXv6h Boherellus conjectures Ka,ra,y'Kv<p&iv^ which has been 
adopted in the translation. 



nor discriminating the meaning of Holy Scripture, thrown every^ ^ 
thing into confusion; seeing that they have borrowed from \ 
magic the names of laldabaoth, and Astaphgeus, and Horseus, ; 
and from the Hebrew Scriptures him who is termed in Hebrew 
lao or Jah, and Sabaoth, and Adonseus, and Eloseus. Now the 
names taken from the Scriptures are names of one and the 
same God ; which, not being understood by the enemies of God, 
as even themselves acknowledge, led to their imagining that lao 
was a different God, and Sabaoth another, and Adongeus, whom 
the Scriptures term Adonai, a third besides, and that EloaBus, 
whom the prophets name in Hebrew Eloi, w^as also different. 

Chapter xxxiii. 

Celsus next relates other fables, to the effect that " certain 
persons return to the shapes of the archontics,^ so that some are 
called lions, others bulls, others dragons, or eagles, or bears, or 
dogs." We found also in the Diagram which we possessed, 
and which Celsus called the ^* square pattern," the statements^ 
made by these unhappy beings concerning the gates of Paradise. 
The flaming sword was depicted as the diameter of a flaming 
circle, and as if mounting guard over the tree of knowledge and 
of life. Celsus, however, either would not or could not repeat 
the harangues which, according to the fables of these impious 
individuals, are represented as spoken at each of the gates by 
those who pass through them ; but this we have done in order 
to show to Celsus and those who read his treatise, that we know 
the depth of these unhallowed mysteries,^ and that they are 
far removed from the worship which Christians offer up to 

Chapter xxxiv. 

After finishing the foregoing, and those analogous matters 
which we ourselves have added, Celsus continues as follows: 
" They continue to heap together one thing after another, — 
discourses of prophets, and circles upon circles, and effluents^ 

* ilg Tug a,pxoyriKoig fi,op!pxg. 

2 Guietus thinks that some word has been omitted here, as |/(po?, which 
seems very probable. 

^ TO r^; ccTsT^earov reT^sri^s 'Tripoli. * ecTToppoius:, 


from an earthly church, and from circumcision ; and a power 
flowing from one Prunicos, a virgin and a living soul ; and a 
heaven slain in order to live, and an earth slaughtered by the 
sword, and many put to death that they may live, and death 
ceasing in the world, when the sin of the world is dead ; and, 
again, a narrow way, and gates that open spontaneously. And 
in all their writings [is mention made] of the tree of life, and 
a resurrection of the flesh by means ^ of the ^ tree,' because, I 
imagine, their teacher was nailed to a cross, and was a carpenter 
by trade ; so that if he had chanced to have been cast from a 
precipice, or thrust into a pit, or suffocated by hanging, or had 
been a leather-cutter, or stone-cutter, or worker in iron, there 
would have been [invented] a precipice of life beyond the 
heavens, or a pit of resurrection, or a cord of immortality, or a 
blessed stone, or an iron of love, or a sacred leather ! Now 
'what old woman would not be ashamed to utter such things in 
a whisper, even when making stories to lull an infant to sleep ? " 
In using such language as this, Celsus appears to me to con- 
fuse together matters which he has imperfectly heard. For it 
seems likely that, even supposing that he had heard a few words 
traceable to some existing heresy, he did not clearly understand 
the meaning intended to be conveyed ; but heaping the words 
together, he wished to show before those who knew nothing 
either of our opinions or of those of the heretics, that he was 
acquainted with all the doctrines of the Christians. And this 
is evident also from the foregoing words. 

Chapter xxxv. 

It is our practice, indeed, to make use of the words of the 
prophets, who demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ predicted 
by them, and who show from the prophetic writings that the 
events in the Gospels regarding Jesus have been fulfilled. But 
when Celsus speaks of " circles upon circles," [he perhaps bor- 
rowed the expression] from the aforementioned heresy, which 
includes in one circle (which they call the soul of all things, 
and Leviathan) the seven circles of archontic demons, or per- 
haps it arises from misunderstanding the preacher, when he 
says : " The wind goeth in a circle of circles, and returneth again 


upon its circles." ^ The expression, too, '' effluents of an earthly 
church and of circumcision," was probably taken from the fact 
that the church on earth was called by some an effluent from a 
heavenly church and a better world ; and that the circumcision 
described in the law was a symbol of the circumcision performed 
there, in a certain place set apart for purification. The adher- 
ents of Valentinus, moreover, in keeping with their system of 
error,^ give the name of Prunicos to a certain kind of wisdom, 
of which they would have the woman afflicted with the twelve 
years' issue of blood to be the symbol; so that Celsus, who 
confuses together all sorts of opinions — Greek, Barbarian, and 
Heretical — having heard of her, asserted that it was a power 
flowing forth from one Prunicos, a virgin. The " living soul," 
again, is perhaps mysteriously referred by some of the followers 
of Valentinus to the being whom they term the psychic^ creator 
of the world; or perhaps, in contradistinction to a " dead" 
soul, the " living " soul is termed by some, not inelegantly,* the 
soul of '' him who is saved." I know nothings however, of a 
" heaven which is said to be slain," or of an " earth slaughtered 
by the sword," or of many persons slain in order that they 
might live ; for it is not unlikely that these w^ere coined by 
Celsus out of his own brain. 

Chapter xxxvi. 

We would say, moreover, that death ceases in the world when 
the sin of the world dies, referring the saying to the mystical 
words of the apostle, which run as follows : " When He shall 
have put all enemies under His feet, then the last enemy that 
shall be destroyed is death." ^ And also: "When this corruptible 
shall have put on incorruption, then shall be brought to pass the 
saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." ^ The 
" strait descent," ^ again, may perhaps be referred by those 
who hold the doctrine of transmigration of souls to that view of 
things. And it is not incredible that the gates which are said 

^ Eccles, i. 6 (literally rendered). 

^ Kctra, rv^v '^STr'haiiiYifAhYiv kccvrcoi/ co^i'ecu. 

^ -i^v^iKou ^■^fiiovpyov. * ovK clyevvZ;, 

« Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 25, 26. « Cf. 1 Cor. xv. 54 ; cf. Hos. xiii. 14. 


to open spontaneously are referred obscurely by some to the 
words, ^^ Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may 
go into them, and praise the Lord ; this gate of the Lord, into 
it the righteous shall enter ;"^ and again, to what is said in the 
ninth psalm, " Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death, 
that I may show forth all Thy praise in the gates of the 
daughter of Zion." ^ The Scripture further gives the name of 
" gates of death " to those sins which lead to destruction, as it 
terms, on the contrary, good actions the " gates of Zion." So 
also " the gates of righteousness," which is an equivalent expres- 
sion to " the gates of virtue," and these are ready to be opened 
to him who follows after virtuous pursuits. The subject of the 
" tree of life " will be more appropriately explained when we 
interpret the statements in the book of Genesis regarding the 
paradise planted by God. Celsus, moreover, has often mocked 
at the subject of a resurrection, — a doctrine which he did not 
comprehend; and on the present occasion, not satisfied with 
what he has formerly said, he adds, " And there is said to be 
a resurrection of the flesh by means of the tree ; " not under- 
standing, I think, the symbolical expression, that " through the 
tree came death, and through the tree comes life," ^ because 
death was in Adam, and life in Christ. He next scoffs at the 
" tree," assailing it on two grounds, and saying, ^' For this 
reason is the tree introduced, either because our teacher was 
nailed to a cross, or because he was a carpenter by trade ; " not 
observing that the tree of life is mentioned in the Mosaic writ- 
ings, and being blind also to this, that in none of the Gospels 
current in the churches is Jesus Himself ever described as 
being a carpenter.^ 

Chapter xxxvii. 

Celsus, moreover, thinks that we have invented this " tree 
of life " to give an allegorical meaning to the cross ; and in 
consequence of his error upon this point, he adds : " If he had 
happened to be cast down a precipice, or shoved into a pit, or 
suffocated by hanging, there would have been invented a pre- 
cipice of life far beyond the heavens, or a pit of resurrection, or 

1 Cf. Ps. cxviii. 19, 20. 2 Qf, pg. ix. 13, 14. 

5 Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 22. 4 cf., however, Mark vi. 3. 


a cord of immortality." And again: "If the ^tree of life* 
were an invention, because he (Jesus) [is reported] to have 
been a carpenter, it would follow that if he had been a leather- 
cutter, something would have been said about holy leather; 
or had he been a stone-cutter, about a blessed stone ; or if a 
worker in iron, about an iron of love." Now, who does not see 
at once ^ the paltry nature of his charge, in thus calumniating 
men whom he professed to convert on the ground of their 
being deceived? And after these remarks, he goes on to 
speak in a way quite in harmony with the tone of those who 
have invented the fictions of lion-like, and ass-headed, and ser- 
pent-like ruling angels,^ and other similar absurdities, but which 
does not affect those who belong to the church. Of a truth, 
even a drunken old woman would be ashamed to chaunt or 
whisper to an infant, in order to lull him to sleep, any such 
fables as those have done who invented the beings with asses' 
heads, and the harangues, so to speak, which are delivered 
at each of the gates. But Celsus is not acquainted with the 
doctrines of the members of the church, which very few have 
been able to comprehend, even of those who have devoted all 
their lives, in conformity with the command of Jesus, to the 
searching of the Scriptures, and have laboured to investigate 
the meaning of the sacred books, to a greater degree than Greek 
philosophers in their efforts to attain a so-called wisdom. 

Chapter xxxviii. 

Our noble [friend], moreover, not satisfied with the objec- 
tions w^hich he has drawn from the Diagram, desires, in order 
to strengthen his accusations against us, who have nothing in 
common with it, to introduce certain other charges, which he 
adduces from the same [heretics], but yet as if they were from 
a different source. His words are : " And that is not the least 
of their marvels, for there are between the upper circles — those 
that are above the heavens — certain inscriptions of which they 
give the interpretation, and among others two words especially, 
*a greater and a less,' which they refer to Father and Son."'' 
Now, in the Diagram referred to, we found the greater and 

^ uvro&iv. ^ cipyiO'JTUg. 

3 oiKhoc T£, Kul Bi/o arrcf, {/,d^ou rs xai fitKpinpov viol> ku\ -T^urpo;. 


the lesser circle, upon the diameter of which was inscribed 
*' Father and Son ;" and between the greater circle (in which 
the lesser was contained) and another ^ composed of two circles, 
— the outer one of which was yellow, and the inner blue, — a 
barrier inscribed in the shape of a hatchet. And above it, a 
short circle, close to the greater of the two former, having the 
inscription *'Love;" and lower down, one touching the same 
circle, with the word " Life." And on the second circle, which 
was intertwined with and included two other circles, another 
figure, like a rhomboid, [entitled] "The foresight of wisdom." 
And within their point of common section was " The nature of 
wisdom." And above their point of common section was a 
circle, on which was inscribed '^Knowledge;" and lower down 
another, on which was the inscription, " Understanding." We 
have introduced these matters into our reply to Celsus, to show 
to our readers that we know better than he, and not by mere 
report, those things, even although we also disapprove of them. 
Moreover, if those who pride themselves upon such matters 
profess also a kind of magic and sorcery, — which, in their 
opinion, is the summit of wisdom, — we, on the other hand, 
make no affirmation about it, seeing we never have discovered 
anything of the kind. Let Celsus, however, who has been 
already often convicted of false witness and irrational accusa- 
tions, see whether he is not guilty of falsehood in these also, or 
whether he has not extracted and introduced into his treatise, 
statements taken from the writings of those who are foreigners 
and strangers to our Christian faith. 

' Chapter xxxix. 

In the next place, speaking of those who employ the arts 
of magic and sorcery, and who invoke the barbarous names of 
liemons, he remarks that such persons act like those who, in 
reference to the same things,^ perform marvels before those 
who are ignorant that the names of demons among the Greeks 
are different from what they are among the Scythians. He 

^ For oiXkovg^ the textual reading, Gelenius, -with the approval of 
Boherellus, proposes x«i oih'Kov avyKUf^hov^ which has been followed in the 


then quotes a passage from Herodotus, stating that " Apollo 
is called Gongosyrus by the Scythians; Poseidon, Thagima- 
sada ; Aphrodite, Argimpasan ; Hestia, Tahiti." -^ Now, he who 
has the capacity can inquire whether in these matters Celsus 
and Herodotus are not both wrong; for the Scythians do not 
understand the same thing as the Greeks, in what relates to 
those beings which are deemed to be gods. For how is it 
credible^ that Apollo should be called Gongosyrus by the 
Scythians? I do not suppose that Gongosyrus, when trans- 
ferred into the Greek language, yields the same etymology as 
Apollo; or that Apollo, in the dialect of the Scythians, has 
the signification of Gongosyrus. Nor has any such assertion 
hitherto been made regarding the other names,^ for the Greeks 
took occasion from different circumstances and etymologies to 
give to those who are by them deemed gods the names which 
they bear ; and the Scythians, again, from another set of cir- 
cumstances ; and the same also was the case with the Persians, 
or Indians, or Ethiopians, or Libyans, or with those who delight 
to bestow names [from fancy], and who do not abide by the 
just and pure idea of the Creator of all things. Enough, how- 
ever, has been said by us in the preceding pages, where we 
wished to demonstrate that Sabaoth and Zeus were not the 
same deity, and where also we made some remarks, derived 
from the Holy Scriptures, regarding the different dialects. We 
willingly, then, pass by these points, on which Celsus would 
make us repeat ourselves. In the next place, again, mixing 
up together matters which belong to magic and sorcery, and 
referring them perhaps to no one, — because of the non-existence 
of any who practise magic under pretence of a worship of this 
character, — and yet, perhaps, having in view some who do 
employ such practices in the presence of the simple (that they 
may have the appearance of acting by divine power), he adds : 
" What need to number up all those who have taught methods 
of purification, or expiatory hymns, or spells for averting evil, 
or [the making of] images, or resemblances of demons, or the 

^ Cf. Herodot. iv. 9. 

^ 'TTOtct yoip TiSxvorns. 

^ For the textual reading, otiTta Be ovZe Tnpi ruv t^oi'ttuv tuvtov t; Ipily 
Boherellus conjectures si'f/iTxi, which has been adopted in the translation. 


rarious sorts of antidotes against poison [to be found] ^ in 
:lothes, or in numbers, or stones, or plants, or roots, or generally 
n all kinds of things?" In respect to these matters, reason 
loes not require us to offer any defence, since we are not liable 
n the slightest degree to suspicions of such a nature. 

Chapter xl. 

After these things, Celsus appears to rae to act like those 
whoj in their intense hatred of the Christians, maintain, in the 
presence of those who are utterly ignorant of the Christian 
aith, that they have actually ascertained that Christians devour 
the flesh of infants, and give themselves without restraint to 
sexual intercourse with their women. Now, as these statements 
lave been condemned as falsehoods invented against the Chris- 
:ians, and this admission made by the multitude and those alto- 
gether aliens to our faith ; so would the following statements 
jf Celsus be found to be calumnies invented against the Chris- 
dans, where he says that ^' he has seen in the hands of certain 
presbyters belonging to our faith ^ barbarous books, containing 
the names and marvellous doings of demons;" asserting further, 
3 that " these presbyters of our faith professed to do no good, 
but all that was calculated to injure human beings." Would, 
indeed, that all that is said by Celsus against the Christians 
was of such a nature as to be refuted by the multitude, who 
have ascertained by experience that such things are untrue, 
seeing that most of them have lived as neighbours with the 
Christians, and have not even heard of the existence of any 
such alleged practices ! 

Chaptek xli. 

In the next place, as if he had forgotten that it was his 
object to write against the Christians, he says that, " having 
become acquainted with one Dionysius, an Egyptian musician, 
the latter told him, with respect to magic arts, that it was only 
over the uneducated and men of corrupt morals that they had 
any power, while on philosophers they were unable to produce 

^ For oilahruv^ Lommatzsch adopts the conjecture of Boherellus, approved 
iby Ruaeus, ia&Tjrau. 
2 I6^ns- 


any effect, because they were careful to observe a healthy man- 
ner of life." If, now, it had been our purpose to treat of magic, , 
we could have added a few remarks in addition to what we j 
have already said on this topic ; but since it is only the more 
important matters which we have to notice in answer to Celsus, 
we shall say of magic, that any one who chooses to inquire 
whether philosophers were ever led captive by it or not, can 
read what has been written by Moiragenes regarding the 
memoirs of the magician and philosopher Apollonius of Tyana, 
in which this individual, who is not a Christian, but a philoso- 
pher, asserts that some philosophers of no mean note were won , 
over by the magic power possessed by Apollonius, and resorted 
to him as a sorcerer ; and among these, I think, he especially 
mentioned Euphrates and a certain Epicurean. Now we, on^ 
the other hand, affirm, and have learned by experience, that 
they who worship the God of all things in conformity with the , 
Christianity which comes by Jesus, and who live according to; 
His gospel, using night and day, continuously and becomingly, 
the prescribed prayers, are not carried away either by magic or 
demons. For verily " the angel of the Lord encamps round 
about them that fear Him, and delivereth them"^ from all 
evil ; and the angels of the little ones in the church, who are 
appointed to watch over them, are said always to behold the 
face of their Father who is in heaven,^ whatever be the mean- 
ing of "face" or of "behold." 

Chapter xlii. 

After these matters, Celsus brings the following charges 
against us from another quarter : " Certain most impious errors," 
he says, " are committed by them, due to their extreme igno- 
rance, in which they have wandered away from the meaning of 
the divine enigmas, creating an adversary to God, the devil, 
and naming him in the Hebrew tongue, Satan. Now, of a 
truth, such statements are altogether of mortal invention,^ and 
not even proper to be repeated, viz. that the mighty God, in 
His desire to confer good upon men, has yet one counterwork- 

1 Cf. Ps. xxxiv. 7. 2 Qi Matt, xviii. 10. 

3 Sunra.. Instead of this reading, Quietus conjectures 7rrj7*Ta, which is 
approved of by Ruseus. 



ing Him, and is helpless. The Son of God, it follows, is van- 
quished by the devil ; and being punished by him, teaches us 
also to despise the punishments which he inflicts, telling us 
beforehand that Satan, after appearing to men as He Himself 
had done, will exhibit great and marvellous works, claiming for 
himself the glory of God, but that those who wish to keep him 
at a distance ought to pay no attention to these works of Satan, 
but to place their faith in Him alone. Such statements are 
manifestly the words of a deluder, planning and manoeuvring 
against those who are opposed to his views, and who rank them- 
selves against them." In the next place, desiring to point out 
the ^' enigmas," our mistakes regarding which lead to the intro- 
duction of our views concerning Satan, he continues : " The 
ancients allude obscurely to a certain war among the gods, 
Heraclitus speaking thus of it : ' If one must say that there is 
a general war and discord, and that all things are done and 
administered in strife.' Pherecydes, again, who is much 
older than Heraclitus, relates a myth of one army drawn up in 
hostile array against another, and names Kronos as the leader 
of the one, and Ophioneus of the other, and recounts their 
challenges and struggles, and mentions that agreements were 
entered into between them, to the end that whichever party 
should fall into the Ocean ^ should be held as vanquished, while 
those who had expelled and conquered them should have pos- 
session of heaven. The mysteries relating to the Titans and 
Giants also had some such [symbolical] meaning, as well as 
the Egyptian mysteries of Typhon, and Horus, and Osiris." 
After having made such statements, and not having got over 
the difficulty '^ as to the way in which these accounts contain a 
higher view of things, while our accounts are erroneous copies of 
them, he continues his abuse of us, remarking that " these are 
'inot like the stories which are related of a devil, or demon, or, 
''las he remarks with more truth, of a man who is an impostor, 
* |who wishes to establish an opposite doctrine." And in the same 
^jWay he understands Homer, as if he referred obscurely to 
"'imatters similar to those mentioned by Heraclitus, and Phere- 
'■ icydes, and the originators of the mysteries about the Titans 
^ "Tiyvivov, i.e. in Oceanum, Hesycb. ; 'ny>?y, uKtotvog^ Suid. 


and Giants, in those words which Hephaestus addresses to 
Hera, as follows : 

*' Once in your cause I felt his matchless might, 

Hurled headlong downward from the ethereal height." ^ 

And in those of Zeus to Hera : 

*' Hast thou forgot, when bound and fix'd on high 
From the vast concave of the spangled sky, 
I hung thee trembling on a golden chain, 
And all the raging gods opposed in vain ? 
Headlong I hurled them from the Olympian hall, 
Stunn'd in the whirl, and breathless with the fall." ^ 

Interpreting, moreover, the words of Homer, he adds : " The 
words of Zeus addressed to Hera are the words of God addressed 
to matter; and the words addressed to matter obscurely signify 
that the matter which at the beginning was in a state of discord 
[with God], was taken by Him, and bound together and arranged 
under laws, which may be analogically compared to chains;^ and 
that by way of chastising the demons who create disorder in it, 
he hurls them down headlong to this lower world." These words 
of Homer, he alleges, were so understood by Pherecydes, when 
he said that beneath that region is the region of Tartarus, 
which is guarded by the Harpies and Tempest, daughters of 
Boreas, and to which Zeus banishes any one of the gods who be- 
comes disorderly. With the same ideas also are closely connected 
the peplos of Athena, which is beheld by all in the procession 
of the Panathencea. For it is manifest from this, he continues, 
that a motherless and unsullied demon * has the mastery over 
the daring of the Giants. While accepting, moreover, the 
fictions of the Greeks, he continues to heap against us such 
accusations as the following, viz., that "the Son of God is 
punished by the devil, and teaches us that we also, when 
punished by him, ought to endure it. Now these statements are 
altogether ridiculous. For it is the devil, I think, who ought 
rather to be punished, and those human beings who are calum- 
niated by him ought not to be threatened with chastisement." 

^ Of. lliad^ book i. v. 590, Pope's translation. 

2 Cf. Hiad., book xv. w. 18-24, Pope's translation. 

^ duocT^oyiuig rial avvsZvias kuI tKoaf^riviv 6 Qiog. 


Chapter xliii. 

Mark now, whether he who charges us with having com- 
mitted errors of the most impious kind, and with having 
wandered away from the [true meaning] of the divine enig- 
mas, is not himself clearly in error, from not observing that 
in the writings of Moses, which are much older not merely 
than Heraclitus and Pherecydes, but even than Homer, men- 
tion is made of this wicked one, and of his having fallen 
from heaven. For the serpent ^ — from whom the Ophioneus 
spoken of by Pherecydes is derived — having become the cause 
of man's expulsion from the divine Paradise, obscurely shadows 
forth something similar, having deceived the woman ^ by a 
promise of divinity and of greater blessings ; and her example 
is said to have been followed also by the man. And, further, 
who else could the destroying angel mentioned in the Exodus 
of Moses ^ be, than he who was the author of destruction 
to them that obeyed him, and did not withstand his wicked 
deeds, nor struggle against them? Moreover, [the goat], 
which in the book of Leviticus * is sent away [into the wilder- 
3iess], and which in the Hebrew language is named Azazel, 
was none other than this ; and it was necessary to send it away 
into the desert, and to treat it as an expiatory sacrifice, because 
on it the lot fell. For all who belong to the '^ worse " part, on 
account of their wickedness, being opposed to those who are 
God's heritage, are deserted by God. Nay, with respect to the 
sons of Belial in the book of Judges,^ whose sons are they said 
! to be, save his, on account of their wickedness ? And besides 
all these instances, in the book of Job, which is older even 
than Moses himself, the devil is distinctly described as present- 
ing himself before God,^ and asking for power against Job, 
that he might involve him in trials ^ of the most painful kind ; 
the first of which consisted in the loss of all his goods and of 
his children, and the second in afflicting the whole body of 
Job with the so-called disease of elephantiasis.^ I pass by 

' Cf. Gen. iii. 2 ^^ OrfKimpov yeuog. 

3 Cf. Ex. xii. 23. 4 Cf. Lev. xvi. 8. 

^ hxPTiot oung rols uttq toD K'K'/ipov rov ©soy, spvifcot sia: Gsov. 


what might be quoted from the Gospels regarding the devil 
who tempted the Saviour, that I may not appear to quote in 
reply to Celsus from more recent writings on this question. 
In the last [chapter] ^ also of Job, in which the Lord utters to 
Job amid tempest and clouds what is recorded in the book 
which bears his name, there are not a few things referring to 
the serpent. I have not yet mentioned the passages in Ezekiel,' 
where he speaks, as it were, of Pharaoh, or Nebuchadnezzar, 
or the prince of Tyre ; or those in Isaiah,^ where lament is 
made for the king of Babylon, from which not a little might 
be learned concerning evil, as to the nature of its origin and 
generation, and as to how it derived its existence from some 
who had lost their wings,^ and who had followed him who was 
the first to lose his own. 

Chapter xliv. 

For it is impossible that the good which is tlie result of 
accident, or of communication, should be like that good which 
comes by nature ; and yet the former will never be lost by him 
who, so to speak, partakes of the " living " bread with a view to 
his own preservation. But if it should fail any one, it must 
be through his own fault, in being slothful to partake of this 
" living bread " and " genuine drink," by means of which the 
wings, nourished and watered, are fitted for their purpose, even 
according to the saying of Solomon, the wisest of men, con- 
cerning the truly rich man, that " he made to himself wings 
like an eagle, and returns to the house of his patron." ^ For 
it became God, who knows how to turn to proper account even 
those who in their wickedness have apostatized from Him, to 
place wickedness of this sort in some part of the universe, and 
to appoint a training-school of virtue, wherein those must 
exercise themselves who would desire to recover in a " lawful 
manner " ^ the possession [which they had lost] ; in order that 
being tested, like gold in the fire, by the wickedness of these, 
and having exerted themselves to the utmost to prevent any- 
thing base injuring their rational nature, they may appear 

1 Cf. Job xl. 20. 2 cf _ Ezek. xxxii. 1-28. » jga. xiv. 4 sqq. 

^ 'TTTipoppvmut/ruv. Cf. Book iv. c. 40. ^ Cf. Prov. xxiii. 5. 

6 Cf . 1 Tim. ii. 5. 


deserving of an ascent to divine things, and may be elevated 
by the Word to the blessedness which is above all things, and 
so to speak, to the very summit of goodness. Now he who in 
the Hebrew language is named Satan, and by some Satanas — 
as being more in conformity with the genius of the Greek 
language — signifies, when translated into Greek, " adversary." 
But every one who prefers vice and a vicious life, is (because 
acting in a manner contrary to virtue) Satanas, that is, an 
*' adversary " to the Son of God, who is righteousness, and 
truth, and wisdom.^ With more propriety, however, is he 
called " adversary," who was the first among those that were 
living a peaceful and happy life to lose his wings, and to fall 
from blessedness , he who, according to Ezekiel, walked fault- 
lessly in all his ways, " until iniquity was found in him," ^ and 
who being the " seal of resemblance " and the " crown of 
beauty" in the paradise of God, being filled as it were with 
good things, fell into destruction, in accordance with the word 
which said to him in a mystic sense : " Thou hast fallen into 
destruction, and shalt not abide for ever." ^ We have ventured 
somewhat rashly to make these few remarks, although in so 
doing we have added nothing of importance to this treatise. 
If any one, however, who has leisure for the examination of 
the sacred writings, should collect together from all sources 
and form into one body of doctrine what is recorded concern- 
ing the origin of evil, and the manner of its dissolution, he 
would see that the views of Moses and the prophets regarding 
Satan had not been even dreamed of either by Celsus or any 
one of those whose soul had been dragged down, and torn 
away from God, and from right views of Him, and from His 
word, by this wicked demon. 

Chapter xlv. 

But since Celsus rejects the statements concerning Anti- 
christ, as it is termed, having neither read what is said of him 
in the book of Daniel ^ nor in the writinors of Paul,^ nor what 
the Saviour in the Gospels^ has predicted about his coming, we 
must make a few remarks upon this subject also ; because, " as 

1 Cf. 1 Cor. i. 30. 2 cf, gzek. xxviii. 15. ^ cf. Ezek. xxviii. 19. 

♦ Cf. Dan. viii. 23. « Cf. 2 Thess. ii. 3, 4. ^ Cf. Matt. xxiv. 4. 
ORIG. — VOL. II. 2 B 


faces do not resemble faces," ^ so also neither do men's " hearts " 
resemble one another. It is certain, then, that there will be 
diversities amongst the hearts of men, — those which are inclined 
to virtue not being all modelled and shaped towards it in the 
same or like degree ; while others, through neglect of virtue, 
rush to the opposite extreme. And amongst the latter are some 
in whom evil is deeply engrained, and others in whom it is less 
deeply rooted. Where is the absurdity, then, in holding that 
there exist among men, so to speak, two extremes,^ — the one of 
virtue, and the other of its opposite ; so that the perfection of 
virtue dwells in the man who realizes the ideal given in Jesus, 
from whom there flowed to the human race so great a conver- 
sion, and healing, and amelioration, while the opposite extreme 
is in the man who embodies the notion of him that is named 
Antichrist? For God, comprehending all things by means of 
His foreknowledge, and foreseeing what consequences would 
result from both of these, wished to make these known to man- 
kind by His prophets, that those who understand their words 
might be familiarized with the good, and be on their guard 
against its opposite. It was proper, moreover, that the one of 
these extremes, and the best of the two, should be styled the 
Son of God, on account of His pre-eminence ; and the other, 
who is diametrically opposite, be termed the son of the wicked 
demon, and of Satan, and of the devil. And, in the next place, 
since evil is specially characterized by its diffusion, and attains 
its greatest height when it simulates the appearance of the 
good, for that reason are signs, and marvels, and lying miracles 
found to accompany evil, through the co-operation of its father 
the devil. For, far surpassing the help which these demons 
give to jugglers (who deceive men for the basest of purposes), 
is the aid which the devil himself affords in order to deceive the 
human race. Paul, indeed, speaks of him who is called Anti- 
christ, describing, though with a certain reserve,^ both the 
manner, and time, and cause of his coming to the human race. 
And notice whether his language on this subject is not most 
becoming, and undeserving of being treated with even the 
slightest degree of ridicule. 

^ Cf. Prov. xxvii. 19. ^ oixpornrotg. ^ 

^ fAiroe. riuos iTTDcpv^^iug. Cf. 2 Tliess. ii. 9. 


Chapter xlvi. 

It is thus that the apostle expresses himself : " We beseech 
you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and 
by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken 
in mind, or be troubled, neither by word, nor by spirit, nor by 
letter as from us, as that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let 
no man deceive you by any means : for that day shall not come^ 
except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be 
revealed, the son of perdition ; who opposeth and exalteth him- 
self above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so that 
he sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is 
God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told 
you these things ? And now ye know what withholdeth, that he 
might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth 
already work : only He who now letteth will let, until he be 
taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, 
whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, 
and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming : even hiniy 
whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, 
and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of 
unrighteousness in them that perish ; because they received not 
the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this 
cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should be- 
lieve a lie ; that they all might be damned who believed not the 
truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." -^ To explain each 
particular here referred to does not belong to our present pur- 
pose. The prophecy also regarding Antichrist is stated in the 
book of Daniel, and is fitted to make an intelligent and candid 
reader admire the words as truly divine and prophetic ; for in 
them are mentioned the things relating to the coming king- 
dom, beginning with the times of Daniel, and continuing to 
the destruction of the world. And any one who chooses may 
read it. Observe, however, whether the prophecy regarding 
Antichrist be not as follows : " And at the latter time of their 
kingdom, when their sins are coming to the full, there shall arise 
a king, bold in countenance, and understanding riddles. And 
his power shall be great, and he shall destroy wonderfully, and 
1 2 Thess. ii. 1-12. 


prosper, and practise ; and shall destroy mighty men, and the 
holy people. And the yoke of his chain shall prosper : there 
is craft in his hand, and he shall magnify himself in his heart, 
and by craft shall destroy many ; and he shall stand up for 
the destruction of many, and shall crush them as eggs in his 
hand." ^ What is stated by Paul in the words quoted from 
him, where he says, " so that he sitteth in the temple of God, 
showing himself that he is God,"^ is in Daniel referred to 
in the following fashion : " And on the temple shall be the 
abomination of desolations, and at the end of the time an end 
shall be put to the desolation." ^ So many, out of a greater 
number of passages, have I thought it right to adduce, that 
the hearer may understand in some slight degree the meaning 
of Holy Scripture, when it gives us information concerning the 
devil and Antichrist; and being satisfied with what we have 
quoted for this purpose, let us look at another of the charges 
of Celsus, and reply to it as we best may. 

Chapter xlvii. 

Celsus, after what has been said, goes on as follows : '^ I 
can tell how the very thing occurred, viz. that they should call 
him ' Son of God.' Men of ancient times termed this world, 
as being born of God, both his child and his son.* Both the 
one and other ' Son of God,' then, greatly resembled each 
other." He is therefore of opinion that we employed the ex- 
pression " Son of God," having perverted^ what is said of the 
w^orld, as being born of God, and being His "Son," and " a God." 
For he was unable so to consider the times of Moses and the 
prophets, as to see that the Jewish prophets predicted generally 
that there was a " Son of God " long before the Greeks and 
those men of ancient time of whom Celsus speaks. Nay, he 
would not even quote the passage in the letters of Plato, to 
which we referred in the preceding pages, concerning Him who 
so beautifully arranged this world, as being the Son of God ; 
lest he too should be compelled by Plato, whom he often men- 
tions with respect, to admit that the architect of this world is 
the Son of God, and that His Father is the first God and Sove- 

i Cf. Dan. viii. 23-25 (LXX.). ^ cf. 2 Thess. ii. 4. 3 cf. Dau. ix. 27. 


reign Ruler over all things. Nor is it at all wonderful if we 
maintain that the soul of Jesus is made one with so great a Son 
of God through the highest union with Him, being no longer 
in a state of separation from Him. For the sacred language 
of Holy Scripture knows of other things also, which, although 
*' dual " in their own nature, are considered to be, and really are, 
^'one" in respect to one another. It is said of husband and 
wife, " They are no longer twain, but one flesh ; " ^ and of the 
perfect man, and of him who is joined to the true Lord, Word, 
and Wisdom, and Truth, that " he who is joined to the Lord is 
one spirit."'"^ And if he who "is joined to the Lord is one spirit," 
who has been joined to the Lord, the Very Word, and Wisdom, 
and Truth, and Righteousness, in a more intimate union, or even 
in a manner at all approaching to it than the soul of Jesus'? 
And if this be so, then the soul of Jesus and God the Word — 
the first-born of every creature — are no longer two, [but one]. 

Chapter xlviii. 

Li the next place, when the philosophers of the Porch, who 
assert that the virtue of God and man is the same, maintain 
that the God who is over all things is not happier than their 
wise man, but that the happiness of both is equal, Celsus 
neither ridicules nor scoffs at their opinion. If, however. Holy 
Scripture says that the perfect man is joined to and made one 
with the Very Word by means of virtue, so that we infer that 
the soul of Jesus is not separated from the first-born of all 
creation, he laughs at Jesus being called '^ Son of God," not 
observing what is said of Him with a secret and mystical signi- 
fication in the Holy Scriptures. But that we may win over to 
the reception of our views those who are willing to accept the 
inferences which flow from our doctrines, and to be benefited 
thereby, we say that the Holy Scriptures declare the body of 
Christ, animated by the Son of God, to be the whole church 
of God, and the members of this body — considered as a whole 
— to consist of those who are believers ; since, as a soul vivifies 
and moves the body, which of itself has not the natural power 
of motion like a living being, so the Word, arousing and moving 
the whole body, the church, to befitting action, awakens, more- 
1 Cf. Gen. ii. 24. 2 qi 1 Cor. vl 17. 


over, each individual member belonging to the church, so 
that they do nothing apart from the Word. Since all this, 
then, follows by a train of reasoning not to be depreciated, where 
is the difficulty in maintaining that, as the soul of Jesus is 
joined in a perfect and inconceivable manner with the very 
Word, so the person of Jesus, generally speaking,^ is not sepa- 
rated from the only-begotten and first-born of all creation, and 
is not a different being from Him ? But enough here on this 

Chapter xlix. 

Let us notice now what follows, where, expressing in a single 
word his opinion regarding the Mosaic cosmogony, without 
offering, however, a single argument in its support, he finds 
fault with it, saying: "Moreover, their cosmogony is extremely 
silly." ^ Now, if he had produced some credible proofs of its 
silly character, we should have endeavoured to answer them ; but 
it does not appear to me reasonable that I should be called upon 
to demonstrate, in answer to his mere assertion^ that it is not 
" silly." If any one, however, wishes to see the reasons which 
led us to accept the Mosaic account, and the arguments by 
which it may be defended, he may read what we have written 
upon Genesis, from the beginning of the book up to the pas- 
sage, " And this is the book of the generation of men,"^ where 
we have tried to show from the Holy Scriptures themselves 
what the " heaven " was which was created in the beginning ; 
and what the " earth," and the " invisible part of the earth," 
and that which was " without form ; " * and what the " deep " 
was, and the '* darkness " that was upon it ; and what the 
" water " was, and the ^^ Spirit of God " which was " borne 
over it ; " and what the " light " which was created, and what 
the ^^ firmament," as distinct from the " heaven " which was 
created in the beginning ; and so on with the other subjects 
that follow. Celsus has also expressed his opinion that the 
narrative of the creation of man is " exceedingly silly," with- 
out stating any proofs, or endeavouring to answer our argu- 
ments; for he had no evidence, in my judgment, which was 

^ Cf. Gen. V. 1. * ocKUTottrKSiuarov. 


fitted to overthrow the statement that " man has been made in 
the image of God." ^ He does not even understand the mean- 
ing of the " Paradise " that was planted by God, and of the 
life which man first led in it ; and of that which resulted from 
accident,^ when man was cast forth on account of his sin, and 
was settled opposite the Paradise of delight. Now, as he asserts 
that these are silly statements, let him turn his attention not 
merely to each one of them [in general], but to this in parti- 
cular, " He placed the cherubim, and the flaming sword, which 
turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life,"^ and 
say whether Moses wrote these words with no serious object in 
view, but in the spirit of the writers of the old Comedy, who 
have sportively related that " Proetus slew Bellerophon," and 
that " Pegasus came from Arcadia." Now their object was 
to create laughter in composing such stories ; whereas it is in- 
credible that he who left behind him laws * for a whole nation, 
regarding which he wished to persuade his subjects that they 
were given by God, should have written words so little to the 
purpose,* and have said without any meaning, *' He placed the 
cherubim, and the flaming sword, which turned every way, to 
keep the way of the tree of life," or made any other state- 
ment regarding the creation of man, which is the subject of 
philosophic investigation by the Hebrew sages. 

Chapter l. 

In the next place, Celsus, after heaping together, simply as 
mere assertions, the varying opinions of some of the ancients 
regarding the world, and the origin of man, alleges that " Moses 
and the prophets, who have left to us our books, not knowing 
at all what the nature of the world is, and of man, have woven 
together a web of sheer nonsense." ^ If he had shown, now, 
how it appeared to him that the Holy Scriptures contained 
" sheer nonsense," we should have tried to demolish the argu- 
ments which appeared to him to establish their nonsensical 
character ; but on the present occasion, following his own ex- 
ample, we also sportively give it as our opinion that Celsus, 

^ Cf. Gen. i. 26. 2 ^^y i^ -TnpiaTuaia; ysvof^hi^v. 

3 Gen. iii. 24. 4 ypaup^,, 

* ocxpoaMyx. 6 avvGuvcti "Kvipov ^oc6vv. 


knowing nothing at all about the nature of the meaning and 
language of the prophets/ composed a work which contained 
" sheer nonsense," and boastfully gave it the title of a " true 
discourse." And since he makes the statements about the " days 
of creation " ground of accusation, — as if he understood them 
clearly and correctly, some of which elapsed before the creation 
of light and heaven, and sun, and moon, and stars, and some 
of them after the creation of these, — we shall only make this 
observation, that Moses must then have forgotten that he had 
said a little before, " that in six days the creation of the world 
had been finished," and that in consequence of this act of for- 
getfulness he subjoins to these words the following : ^' This is 
the book of the creation of man, in the day when God made 
the heaven and the earth ! " But it is not in the least credible, 
that after what he had said respecting the six days, Moses 
should immediately add, without a special meaning, the words, 
^^in the day that God made the heavens and the earth ;" and 
if any one thinks that these words may be referred to the state- 
ment, " In the beginning, God made the heaven and the earth," 
let him observe that before the words, " Let there be light, and 
there was light," and these, " God called the light day," it has 
been stated that " in the beginning God made the heaven and 
the earth." 

Chapter lt. 

On the present occasion, however, it is not our object to 
enter into an explanation of the subject of intelligent and 
sensible beings,^ nor of the manner in which the different kinds^ 
of days were allotted to both sorts, nor to investigate the details 
which belong to the subject, for we should need whole treatises 
for the exposition of the Mosaic cosmogony ; and that work w^e 
had already performed, to the best of our ability, a consider- 
able time before the commencement of this answer to Celsus, 
when we discussed with such measure of capacity as we then 
possessed the question of the Mosaic cosmogony of the six 
days. We must keep in mind, however, that the Word pro- 
mises to the righteous through the mouth of Isaiah, that days 

^ oTt Tig ^OTS lani/ tj Cpvaig tov z/oy, kxI tov h ro7g -Trpo'^ijrxis Ao'yof. 

^ ui cpvasig ruv v^fAspuv. 


will come^ when not the sun, but the Lord Himself, will be to 
them an everlasting light, and God will be their glory .^ And 
it is from misunderstanding, I think, some pestilent heresy 
which gave an erroneous interpretation to the words, '' Let there 
be light," as if they were the expression of a wish^ merely on 
the part of the Creator, that Celsus made the remark: "The 
Creator did not borrow light from above, like those persons 
who kindle their lamps at those of their neighbours." Mis- 
understanding, moreover, another impious heresy, he has said : 
*' If, indeed, there did exist an accursed god opposed to the great 
God, who did this contrary to his approval, why did he lend 
him the light ? " So far are we from offering a defence of 
such puerilities, that we desire, on the contrary, distinctly to 
arraign the statements of these heretics as erroneous, and to 
undertake to refute, not those of their opinions with \yhich we 
are unacquainted^ as Celsus does, but those of which we have 
attained an accurate knowledge, derived in part from the state- 
ments of their own adherents, and partly from a careful perusal 
of their w'ritings. 

Chapter lii. 

Celsus proceeds as follows : " With regard to the origin of 
the world and its destruction, whether it is to be regarded as 
uncreated and indestructible, or as created indeed, but not de- 
structible, or the reverse, I at present say nothing.'* For this 
reason we too say nothing on these points, as the work in hand 
does not require it. Nor do we allege that the Spirit of the 
universal God mingled itself in things here below as in things 
alien to itself,* as might appear from the expression, " The 
Spirit of God moved upon the water ; " nor do we assert that 
certain wicked devices directed against His Spirit, as if by a 
different creator from the great God, and which were tolerated 
by the Supreme Divinity, needed to be completely frustrated. 
And, accordingly, I have nothing further to say to those ^ who 
utter such absurdities ; nor to Celsus, who does not refute them 
with ability. For he ought either not to have mentioned such 
matters at all, or else, in keeping with that character for 

^ iu Kurxaruaii 'iasa6xt tjfitpets. ^ Cf. Isa. Ix. 19. ^ si/KTiKas. 

* us h oLXhorpiotg rolf rvh. ^ fiXKpxu ■'/;,et,ipira(r»v. 


philanthropy which he assumes, have carefully set them forth, 
and then endeavoured to rebut these impious assertions. Nor 
have we ever heard that the great God, after giving his spirit 
to the creator, demands it back again. Proceeding next fool- 
ishly to assail these impious assertions, he asks : " What god 
gives anything with the intention of demanding it back ? For 
it is the mark of a needy person to demand back [what he has 
given], whereas God stands in need of nothing." To this he 
adds, as if saying something clever against certain parties : 
" Why, when he lent [his spirit], was he ignorant that he was 
lending it to an evil being % " He asks, further : " Why does 
he pass without notice ^ a wicked creator who was counter- 
working his purposes ? " 

Chapter liii. 

In the next place, mixing up together various heresies, and 
not observing that some statements are the utterances of one 
heretical sect, and others of a different one, he brings forward 
the objections which we raised against Marcion.^ And, pro- 
bably, having heard them from some paltry and ignorant 
individuals, 3 he assails the very arguments which combat 
thena, but not in a way that shows much intelligence. Quot- 
ing then our arguments against Marcion, and not observing 
that it is against Marcion that he is speaking, he asks : ^^ Why 
does he send secretly, and destroy the works which he has 
created ? Why does he secretly employ force, and persuasion, 
and deceit ? Why does he allure those who, as ye assert, 
have been condemned or accused by him, and carry them* 
away like a slave-dealer ? Why does he teach them to steal : 
away from their Lord ? Why to flee from their father ? Why 
does he claim them for himself against the father's will? 
Why does he profess to be the father of strange children ? " 
To these questions he subjoins the following remark, as if by 
way of expressing his surprise : * " Venerable, indeed, is the 

1 'TTipiopoi. ^ Cf. Book V. c. 54. 

s The textual reading is, utto num svre'xZ; kocI ihiariKug^ for which Ruseus 
reads, d'Tro tiuuv ivrs'hcJv kuI iliUTiKu:/, which emendation has been adopted 
in the translation. 


igod who desires to be the father of those sinners who are con- 
[dcmned by another [god], and of the needy/ and, as them- 
selves say, of the very offscourings^ [of men], and who is 
unable to capture and punish his messenger, who escaped 
from him ! " After this, as if addressing us who acknowledge 
that this world is not the work of a different and strange god, 
s lie continues in the following strain : " If these are his works, 
e how is it that God created evil? And how is it that he can- 
aot persuade and admonish [men] ? And how is it that he 
a repents on account of the ingratitude and wickedness of men ? 
He finds fault, moreover, with his own handwork,^ and hates, 
md threatens, and destroys his own offspring? Whither can 
be transport them out of this world, which he himself has 
nade ? " Now it does not appear to me that by these remarks 
le makes clear what " evil " is ; and although there have been 
i| imong the Greeks many sects who differ as to the nature of 
Tood and evil, he hastily concludes, as if it were a consequence 
)f our maintaining that this world also is a work of the uni- 
?'ersal God, that in our judgment God is the author of evil. 
Let it be, however, regarding evil as it may — whether created 
at 3y God or